The past couple of days have seen a fair amount of internet talk about Starbucks’ red cup for this year. It’s basically just a plain red cup with a Starbucks logo on the front, and the usual spaces on the back to indicate things about the contents.
Since I don’t regularly patronize Starbucks, I hadn’t been aware that they’ve traditionally had a red cup. But it seems many people are frankly incensed because in prior years the cups had a seasonal design, and they take the lack of imagery this year as symptomatic of a war on Christmas or a war on Jesus. I think the controversy is a tempest in a teapot.
In the first place, there is nothing inherently wrong with this year’s design.
Even more to the point is this article which I came across. It shows that over the past several years the designs on the red cups were of things such as snowmen, sledders, people dressed for cold weather, and words like “hope.” In other words, no nativity scenes, now word Christmas, nor anything else explicitly Christian. The idea that winter scenes are what Christmas is about, of course, is nonsense. The idea that not having winter scenes on a red cup is anti-Christian is even greater nonsense.
I’d even say that Starbucks has, probably inadvertently, taken a small step to restore the true meaning of Christmas by removing the secularized images which often pass for Christmas decorations. Instead of complaining, Christians who know what Christmas is really about should be thanking Starbucks for this year’s design, not criticizing and even calling for boycotts. In that spirit, I went to a Starbucks today, and bought a cup of their Thanksgiving Blend coffee.
Once there, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but bags of their Christmas Blend coffee for sale (rushing the season a bit, but that’s what retailers do). Even more wonderful, in front of the bar was a barrel with large boxes whose cellophane front showed the contents: a large white triangle with colorfully covered round objects, looking sort of like Christmas tree ornaments. They were labelled Advent Calendar, and they promised a daily treat.
Far from warring on Christmas, Starbucks is recognizing not only Christmas but, truly rare and worthy of applause, Advent as well. Those calling for a boycott have made themselves look really foolish.