After Halloween, consumers brace themselves for the decorations and food that indicate the start of the holiday season. Many coffee drinkers recognize this onset with the Starbucks holiday menu and festive cups.
However, Starbucks’ customers were met with a surprise on Nov. 1 when they received a plain red coffee cup with their peppermint mochas.
Since 1997, Starbucks’ winter holiday cups have been decorated with holiday designs such as snowmen, ornaments and reindeer.
This season, the holiday cup is a two-toned ombré design, with a bright poppy color on top that blends into a darker cranberry, devoid of any embellishments, according to Starbucks.
“In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs,” said Jeffrey Fields, vice president of Design and Content at Starbucks. “This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”
Starbucks wants customers to continue drawing on their cups, and the new red cup will give the drawings a holiday vibe.
But to some, the blank red cup is a sign of treason to the Christmas season.
On Nov. 5, Joshua Feuerstein, a former television and radio evangelist, according to his Facebook page, posted a video on Facebook captioned, “Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus.”
Feuerstein said that Starbucks took ‘Christ and Christmas’ off of their cups. He encouraged customers to say that their name is “Merry Christmas” in order to put “Christmas” back onto the cups.
Feuerstein ended the video asking people to take a selfie with the their now Christmassy cup, hashtag it as “#merrychristmasstarbucks” and post it to social media.
Elaine Choy, a senior in forensic psychology, said she thinks the whole matter is ridiculous.
Members of the Christian community have spoken out on social media on whether they support, disagree or do not care about Starbucks’ decision.
Celebrities and comedians have also spoken out about the cup. Comedian Ellen DeGeneres joked about the cup on her show, calling it a “Satan-sipper” and mentioning that elves and snowflakes are not in the Bible.
Since the release of the video, there have been multiple hashtags affiliated with the cup. #itsjustacup, #merrychristmas and #cupgate are a few of them.
To add to the fire, competitor Dunkin Donuts released their holiday cup Nov. 12. The company’s Styrofoam cups are designed with the word Joy surrounded by holly leaves to make a wreath.
On Nov. 8, Starbucks published a press release explaining the reason for their 2015 holiday design.
The release stated that Starbucks welcomes customers from all backgrounds and religions and that their core values of creating a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity embody their mission.
“It’s a company using a cup just to celebrate the holidays,” Elaine Choy said, “It’s not like ‘Hey, this is our Christmas cup, were going to make sure it’s just about Christmas,’ so, you know, it’s almost like a middle finger to people who aren’t religious.”
There’s no news if Starbucks will add a new cup later into the holiday season.