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The Inconsequential Starbucks Cup Controversy



Each year, many look forward to Starbucks’ holiday cups that in previous years were sprinkled with snowflakes, ornaments, bows, and all things Christmas. This year, however, Starbucks has replaced these holiday decorations with a cup that features only its logo with a solid red ombré background. Starbucks is no stranger to controversy, but its new holiday cup, which made its debut in early November, experienced much backlash; many declared it a “war on Christmas.” Supporters of the new solid red cup believe it to be a more culturally sensitive approach that caters to all religions, beliefs, and cultures, while others despise the change and view it as an attack on their faith.

Although it may seem ridiculous at first to believe that there are people who are genuinely outraged over this new design, many are actually opposed, with some going as far to call it a “war on Jesus.” For example, Joshua Feuerstein, a former pastor posted a viral Facebook video that features his opinion on Starbucks’ new cup in which he claims that Starbucks removed “Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus.” And he is not alone; his video was watched millions of times and shared by thousands of people. Even presidential candidate, world renowned businessman, and television personality Donald Trump has commented on the issue, stating “I have one of the most successful Starbucks in Trump Tower. Maybe we should boycott Starbucks? I don’t know…If I become president, we’re all going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again, that I can tell you.” Many have agreed with his opinions and have begun boycotting Starbucks; some have even switched from Starbucks to Dunkin’ Donuts because unlike Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts features Christmas-themed cups for their coffee.

Ultimately, the shift from a holiday-themed to a solid-colored cup does not signify a war on Christianity, nor does it allude to a greater cultural awareness and sensitivity. There is no evident “war on Christmas” as critics claim. In fact, according to a 2011 study on American holidays, “90 percent of all Americans take part in the celebration of Christmas….even 80 percent of atheists warm up to the yuletide.” The same study shows that Christmas is by far the most important holiday celebrated among Americans. However, it may be a result of the unnecessary political correctness and that has washed over and submerged the United States. Nonetheless, it is a cup and nothing but a cup. While many are pondering the significance and the effects of this new cup on the world, I am left to wonder why we even care so much about a cup in the first place.

During the same week as the unveiling of this new cup, a shooting left four dead in Colorado Springs and a stabbing occured at the University of California that injured five people. However, both of these tragedies were overshadowed on social media by an insignificant argument. Regardless of personal beliefs or religion, what is most important this holiday season is to be with family and to be grateful for our safety and our lives. These are basic freedoms that, unfortunately, not everyone in the world are able to enjoy. Meaningless arguments over a cup and the ignorance of important real world issues is what’s really attacking the purity and innocence that is Christmas.