Opinion

Cut it out with the cup controversy already

By Kirsten Fedorowicz
Image courtesy of entrepreneur.com

For someone who doesn’t drink coffee, I have been hearing way too much about the Starbucks controversy. I overhear it about it sitting in The Moose, sipping my hot chocolate, in between classes and yelled across hallways. The general campus decision seems to be that it doesn’t matter, but I keep hearing about it, over and over again.

If you weren’t aware, Starbucks just revealed its special holiday design, a simple ombre red cup. Starbucks’ new Christmas design has been seen as an assault on the Christian belief at its most radical, at the least not nearly Christmas enough. Presidential Candidate Donald Trump supports the boycotting of the expensive chain, as do some other Christian groups. They aren’t boycotting the lack of fair trade for the over-expensive coffee, but rather the idea that retiring the old snowflake or snowman designs, Starbucks is assaulting the religious components of Christmas.

The first problem with this is that Starbucks’ cups haven’t historically been religious. They have depicted things like snowmen and Christmas trees, things don’t cater to the religious side of Christmas in the first place. Perhaps previous years have been more upfront about their Christmas decorations, but there isn’t a loss in the cups this year. The designs are still celebratory of Christmas things and the color red as they have been in previous years.

It’s often been complained about that Christmas is becoming too commercialized, from the Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving to the horrors of crowded holiday shopping. The idea of Christmas should be about the family and the birth of Christ. The holiday cheer of a Macy’s full of Christmas sales and sparkling lights isn’t much of a Holiday cheer at all. Many have taken issue with the commercialization of Christmas for years, and the Starbucks controversy seems be going backwards on the anti-commercialization.

In relying on a Starbucks cup to make Christmas, one is relying on commercialization itself.  Christmas is not supposed to be made only by a singing Christmas tree on Amazon or the lights of the Wal-Mart. The Starbucks cup isn’t any different than that; it’s a corporation’s way of acknowledging the holiday encouragement of spending. Christmas should be more than the fact that Starbucks wants you to buy an overpriced peppermint latte in a cute cup. Christmas should be about the wet kind of snow that makes you think of snow men of the past, and maybe build a few for the present. Christmas is your roommate singing Christmas carols too early and your sister still getting up at five in the morning to check everyone’s stockings, even though she’s sixteen. Those things are Christmas, and I think those things are what’s worth talking about.

Next time I’m in The Moose, I want to hear about your crazy Grandma’s Christmas traditions. The Starbucks cup just isn’t Christmas enough.

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