The Great Red Cup Debate

I know, just last week, we were talking about how everyone skips over Thanksgiving, and we’re going to make a conscious effort this year to not do that. And, I’m not. But something needs to be addressed. And that is the great Red Cup Outrage.

Yes, those red cups.

I’m sure, by now, everyone has either bought one of this year’s red cups, seen the uproar on facebook, or at least vaguely heard it mentioned. This dude made a video (and from what I can tell, has since deleted it) standing outside of Starbucks with his freshly brewed coffee beverage in one of this year’s red holiday cups. He then goes on a rant for about a minute saying how Starbucks has decided to take Christ and Christmas off of their cups this year. He then tells how he “tricked” Starbucks by telling the barista his name was “Merry Christmas” so she was forced to write it on the cup, and another person was forced to call it out (apparently, Starbucks employees aren’t supposed to say “Merry Christmas”). He then urges other Americans and Christians to do the same and post it to social media with the hashtag #merrychristmasstarbucks.

Now, I don’t care where you fall on the spectrum of political correctness or religion or taste in coffee. This is just plain stupid.

Holiday cups have been a Starbucks tradition since 1997; in fact, the red cups have become such an expected thing that it doesn’t quite feel like the holiday season until they appear. In years past, they’ve featured Christmas trees, snowmen, snowflakes, reindeer, ornaments, and other festive seasonal images. This year, they decided to tone it down a bit. Basically, what Starbucks had intended with the minimalist design this year was for us the consumers to design our own cups!

We have anchored the design with the classic Starbucks holiday red that is bright and exciting. The ombré creates a distinctive dimension, fluidity and weightedness. In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs. This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.

-Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks vice president of Design & Content

The problem we’re running into is that people are getting up in arms over the wrong things. I will say that Starbucks stands for some things that I disagree with. It shouldn’t be a problem for a legal gun-carrying citizen to walk through their doors with his gun on his hip. It is a problem that they support gay marriage. But these aren’t the things that Christians are having a fit about. No, it’s the fact that a blatantly secular company decided to simplify their holiday design instead of blaringly declaring that we should “Keep Christ in Christmas!” Christians, or anyone as far as that goes, shouldn’t expect a secular company to do that; it’s not their job.

It is the job of all Christians to proclaim the good news that Christ our Savior was born 2,000 years ago in a manger. Even so, it should be declared in love. Not by being spiteful and childish as you force your barista (who ultimately has no choice in the matter) to call out your name as “Merry Christmas.”

Maybe we should all look to the cups as an example this Christmas season. Go back to the basics and remember what Christmas is really about.

Deborahs small signature


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