Starbucks holiday cups prompt undue outrage

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, that’s right, it’s time for holiday drinks at Starbucks. From Peppermint Mochas to Caramel Brulee Lattes, we now have a wide variety of holiday themed sugar- saturated beverages to choose from – and as the proud owner of a Gold Card, rest assured that I too will be consuming the aforementioned drinks.

Starting every November, Starbucks replaces its typical white cup with a more festive alternative. However, not everyone is thrilled with the minimalistic red cup design this year. Some Christians have expressed outrage at Starbuck’s chosen design: a plain, ombre red cup. No snowflakes, trees or presents. Outraged customers are calling this choice an “attack on Christmas.” One evangelical pastor, Joshua Feuerstein, posted on Facebook, “Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus.”

One way that these offended Christians have been sticking it to Starbucks is by saying their name is “Merry Christmas,” so baristas are forced to say it when the order is complete. That’s right, they’re showing Starbucks how upset they are by continuing to buy their products. That’ll show them!

This supposed “War on Christmas” has been waged for years. From using the word “holiday” instead of Christmas, to anger at any suggestion that Santa Claus is not a white man, people will latch onto any idea that their traditional idea of the Christmas season could be changed.

Frankly, I’m done hearing about the “War on Christmas.” Although I do enjoy poking fun of the people who truly feel that a large corporation using a more inclusive holiday cup design is an attack on their personal beliefs, it’s ultimately a ridiculous argument. How can someone argue that they’re feeling oppressed when literally everything about the holiday season is centered around their celebrated holiday? Do Jewish people get time off to celebrate Hanukkah? Not necessarily.

What decorations are you most likely to see in stores or in cities? Christmas trees or Nativity scenes. If you’re in the U.S. in December it might seem like everyone is Christian.

I think what might confuse me most about this argument is the fact that historically, Starbucks has never used religious imagery on their cups. The patterns were festive-snowflakes, fir trees and ornaments-it is not like they suddenly decided to stop featuring crosses or baby Jesus. When did Starbucks ever explicitly push a Christian agenda?

The people that are taking offense to this really need to get a grip and reevaluate what the Christmas season is actually about. Yes, it’s fun and it puts me in the spirit when businesses, towns and schools, such as St. Olaf, put up decorations. I would be saddened if we stopped decorating entirely, but I would never put up a fight if we started using decorations that are less centered entirely around the Christian holiday.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of the plain red cup. It’s kind of boring, and I too enjoyed the cute designs and festive feel. But am I running around screaming at Starbucks employees or posting on Facebook about how horrified I am by what they’ve done to Christmas? No, because Starbucks is in the business of serving coffee, not propogating a war against Christmas.

Cassidy Neuner ’18 (neuner1@stolaf.edu) is from Carmel, Calif. She majors in history and political science.

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