Starbucks’ red cup design leads to controversy


The release of the new all red Starbucks holiday cup has people dissatisfied with its “nu-Christian” message and demand a design.

Melanie Shor, News Editor

Since 1997, Starbucks’ has adorned their cups with distinctively Christmas-themed images; however, this holiday season, the design of the cup has been altered leading to heated controversy.

Throughout the previous years, Starbucks has created a container that can easily be recognized as relating to the Christmas holiday, with images such as snowmen, snowflakes, and text like “stories are gifts.” When the new cup design was released, colored red with only the Starbucks logo on the front, many consumers were quick to judge the opinions of those involved with the creation of the container.

One opponent of the this season’s cup is Joshua Feuerstein who is very influential on social media with a strong following of many Christians. On November 5th, he posted on Facebook “Starbucks removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus.” This post caused not only Facebook, but it also caused Twitter to explode with tweets from advocates of Feuerstein’s idea. These posts often included #merrychristmasstarbucks. The original post accumulated about 200,000 likes and over half a million shares.

These arguments against Starbucks are not only exaggerated, but have received even wider support from other advocates this year. A few of the past year’s cups have only consisted of snowflakes and other images of the Winter season, which pertain less to the birth of Jesus than the color red does, so why is this year any different than the rest? The color red even has a connotation with the holiday because it represents the color of the holly berry which is known to have many theological connections with Jesus’ birth. Since red is still a component of Christmas, it is very puzzling why there are so many people claiming that Starbucks “hates Jesus.”

Furthermore, the company has never come out as believing in a certain religion, unlike corporations such as Chick-Fil-A, so they cannot be held accountable for not having a cup design that correlates with a specific religious holiday. With so many other important issues threatening the world, an argument over a secular business’s cup design without an obvious Christmas theme is completely irrelevant. In addition, the Vice President of Design and Content, Jeffery Fields, stated that the goal for this container is to be more suited for a variety of people with different cultural and religious backgrounds, not only focus on one holiday as in previous seasons.

Although the cups lack detailed decoration, Starbucks has not completely diminished the ideas of the Christmas holiday from their stores. The gift cards still have Merry Christmas written on them with the traditional Christmas tree and poinsettia decorations. In addition, the “Christmas Blend” coffee beans are still available for purchase.

With Christmas ideals still present at the stores, there should be far more things to be worried about than a design of a cup of coffee. Why not participate in a charitable act such as donating five dollars that would have gone to the purchase of coffee. However, if the cup of coffee is more important, and the buyer requires a container with distinctively Christmas-themed images, then Dunkin’ Donuts is the place to go. They offer a cup that depicts the word “joy” in the middle of a wreath which most definitely represents the essence of the holiday.

As the season progresses, Starbucks consumers will be torn between whether or not to support the new cup design. With the cup still representing some elements of Christmas, but making it more simple for other consumers who do not celebrate the Christian holiday to enjoy, people should appreciate the effort Starbucks has made to make a more universal container design.