Of all the faux outrage we suffered last year, none was more ludicrous than that of the Starbucks holiday cup. If you don’t remember that saga — and blocking this bit of idiocy from your mind is a solid choice — it went a little something like this: Starbucks debuted a red cup, conservatives decided it wasn’t “Christmassy” enough, the media blew it up, and everyone promptly lost their minds. But this year, things are going to be different!
Today, Starbucks premiered a completely new holiday cup (along with their holiday menu, which we’ll get to momentarily) that’s probably going to earn both accolades and more idiotic criticism. That’s because the cup is even less Christmassy than before. Instead of snowflakes and Santas and reindeer and sleigh bells on a red background, this year’s cup is green and is covered by line drawings of people of all types. There’s a white dot in the center of the cup (that’s as close as we’re getting to snowflakes), but the message here isn’t Christmas — it’s diversity and community.
From the Starbucks press room:
“The green cup and the design represent the connections Starbucks has as a community with its partners (employees) and customers. During a divisive time in our country, Starbucks wanted to create a symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other,” said Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO.
The new cup’s design was drawn by Shogo Ota — a Seattle-based artist and founder of Tireman Studio. The Starbucks release highlights his vision for the human race as inextricably intertwined. “His threaded design represents shared humanity and connection, serving as a symbol for stitching people together as a united community.”
Cooler still is that all the drawings are done in one continuous line, really representing that unity Starbucks is working so hard to promote. On that count, the brand has also hired Ota to instal designs at various stores and properties around the country.
Of course, no matter how cool and well-meaning the cups (or their message) are, people are still going to be upset. If you’re willing to read between the lines, the green could be seen as a direct response to last year’s controversy. “You want to argue over red cups? Fine, we’ll make them green.” On a Twitter post announcing the new design, replies ranged from compliments, to demands that the cup be removed immediately and replaced with a red cup, to, strangely, attacks on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as some people assumed that the green cup was a direct shot at the Republican party.
All hope is not lost if you’re only in it for the red cups, though. Eater hints that there may be more than one design coming, including one that’s red and wintry made for everyone who wants to stand on tradition. It was a smart move for Starbucks to release the green cup first, though — now anything in red will be seen as festive enough and maybe people will stop complaining about Starbucks cups trampling on their rights to have a pleasant Christmas.
If you go to Starbucks for the drinks and not the cups, you’ll be pleased to know that the seasonal drinks menu is just as robust as ever, featuring such offerings as the Caramel Brulée Latte, the Chestnut Praline Latte, two versions of the Peppermint Mocha, and, of course, Eggnog and Gingerbread lattes.
Happy holidays (even though it’s only November 1st)!