Why Starbucks cups have some people seeing red

Tiffany Trent, Assistant Opinion Editor


Every November, Starbucks changes their classic white cups into red, festive cups for the holiday season. In years’ past the red cups have had sleds, foxes, snowmen, holly and snowflakes on them. This year Starbucks decided to go for a different look. This year the red cups are just that: red. No additional designs or patterns adorn the cups.

This change has some people angry and indignant. One disgruntled customer decided to take his outrage online and shared a video complaining that Starbucks was turning its back on Christmas and that Christians everywhere should therefore turn their backs on the coffee company. This video has sparked a bitter dispute. While some people are offended that the red cups don’t support Christmas anymore, others are outraged that people care more about what is on a paper cup than bigger problems such as homelessness and world hunger.

I myself am a Christian and have been working at Starbucks for over five years. I have had many customers vent to me about the new red cups. Some people are in favor of the cleaner, classy look and cannot understand why people are upset. Other people have told me this is just another way for the coffee company to make a political statement.

I myself am extremely disheartened over this battle. First of all, Starbucks is not a church and does not affiliate with any religions or religious sects. If you are counting on Starbucks to represent Christmas from a Christian viewpoint, that might be problematic. I look to my church and the Bible for the true meaning of Christmas, not a secular coffee company.

Another thing I must point out is that Starbucks has never actually had Christmas designs on their cups before. Snowmen and children playing in the snow and forest creatures are not Christmas specific. They were winter themed designs meant to be inclusive to everyone, regardless of religion or holiday preference. So before we claim that Starbucks has removed Christmas from their cups, let us realize that there never was Christmas designs.

Lastly and most importantly, focusing on something like a Starbucks paper cup is diverting our attention away from what really matters: people. Regardless of which holiday you celebrate (if any), I think we can all agree that love is what truly matters. Proverbs 10:12 says “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” The best way to end this feud is to love each other instead of putting people down because their opinions, or even life views, are different than yours. Treating family, friends and strangers with love and kindness matters more than any cup ever could.

This holiday season, I ask that we all focus less on judgment and anger and instead embrace unity and love. Choosing love is never the wrong decision.