With the welcoming of cold weather and a transition from fall to winter, Starbucks always releases its cup for the holiday season. However, this year was quite different than prior years.
Traditionally, Starbucks’ famous red cups have featured holiday decor consisting of snowmen, reindeers, and different ornaments. This year, Starbucks opted for a plain red two tone cup to appeal to more crowds. With rising controversy surfacing, Starbucks stated the plain red cup was simply for “Customers to create their own Christmas stories.”
Joshua Feuerstein, an American evangelist and self-proclaimed social media personality, released a video on his Facebook bashing Starbucks and accusing them of waging war on Christmas. Feuerstein stated, “Starbucks removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus.”
Starbucks customers have taken the initiative to tell baristas that their name is ‘Merry Christmas’ to trick them into wishing them the holiday spirit they claim is missing this year.
The red cup craze has taken social media by storm with the use of people posting #MerryChristmasStarbucks to express their outrage at the decoration-less cups.
Even presidential hopeful Donald Trump chimed in on the red cups and said, “’Maybe we should boycott Starbucks. I don’t know…Seriously, I don’t care,'” as noted by the Atlantic.
Starbucks claims that it tries “to create a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity.” This makes sense because Starbucks has over 23,000 stores in 68 countries; they serve a variety of customers that celebrate different holidays ranging from Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and some that don’t celebrate at all. It is important for their business to be able to appeal to as many different kinds of people as possible.
This blank canvas is more simple and can appeal to everyone, not that the other celebrators were complaining about the traditional Christmas decor to begin with. Starbucks claims that the blank cup is for customers to share their own “Christmas Story.”
It is not part of the job resume to wish every customer a Merry Christmas or to decorate everything for the holiday season. This controversy is a bit ridiculous, and it is not right to accuse the corporation of hating Christmas just by putting out a red cup that doesn’t include traditions from prior years.
Of course, there is the population that doesn’t care about what their cup looks like, but there is most definitely the people that are outraged such as Feuerstein.
However, this controversy does put into perspective how most companies appeal to the mainstream Christmas spirit in business efforts. It is very normal to walk into a store and see the same old decorations year in and year out to appeal to the population of Christians that celebrate Christmas along with the general population that just celebrate to celebrate with no real investment in the holiday.
Feuerstein’s video can be seen here: