More than a cup? Starbucks releases new holiday cup design, causes controversy


Starbucks, one of America’s largest coffee retailers, has come under backlash because their holiday-themed cup designs have changed drastically. Starbucks has decided to have a simple design – only a red ombre style – no more snowflakes and holly on the cups, as in previous years. Many have viewed the new design as an attack on the Christmas season, and Christianity as whole.

The company has showcased a holiday cup design for the winter season since 1997. Usually, the cups are decorated with ornate drawings of snowflakes, snowmen, polar bears, wreaths of holly, and other common symbols of the holidays. This year’s design change to a minimalist, simple red cup has caused controversy. Some have have expressed dissatisfaction because of the change, but others have applauded Starbucks on their move away from Christmas-themed designs.

“So many people are saying ‘it’s an attack on Christianity’ but I think it’s the opposite of that,” said junior Zoe Weinberg said, “It’s more equalizing. It appeals to more people during the holiday season, even those who aren’t Christian.”

Because of the recent change in cup design, many people have refused to drink Starbucks. Customers have felt that the dissolution of the typical holiday cups is just too much to deal with and will be having their coffee needs fulfilled at other retailers.

“I’m disappointed that they took off the designs. It doesn’t really appeal to the season anymore. It’s now just become a cup.” said teacher Janet Kidd. “It’s not observant of anything. I’m sad to see the beauty of the cup go away. What once made the cup unique is now gone. Before it was special, now it’s not.”

The prominent issue that people have had with the cups is they believe they express anti-Christian sentiments. While the company says there was no religious involvement in the move to the new cups, religious groups are still in uproar.

“Christian persecution has never been more prominent,” said Greg Laurie, minister of Harvest Christian Fellowship church. “It’s expressed in culture today, and it’s clear that Starbucks is wanting to push back their association with the Christian faith.”

While many members of religious groups, like Laurie, are upset by the design of the cups, others have expressed their dissatisfaction toward the entire situation.

“People get so mad over dumb stuff. People get offended over such little things,” sophomore Ariana Mansour said, “Starbucks has never been a Christian organization so they don’t owe it to Christians to make the cups. The cups before did nothing to represent Christianity. They had snowflakes on the cups, so what? Does that represent God? They’re not doing anything offensive by changing the cups. I’m Catholic and I feel fine about it.”
Starbuck’s vice president of Design and Content, Jeffrey Shields, said that their primary intent with the cups was to introduce a “purity of design that welcomes all stories.” Starbucks goes on to say that they will continue to embrace and welcome customers from all backgrounds and religions in their stores around the world.