It’s finally the beginning of the holiday season. Peppermint everything comes to grocery stores, a faint smell of pine fills the air, and wait, what’s that? People are rioting over Starbucks' special “Holiday” cup for the 1000th year in a row?

In case you haven’t seen it, this year's cup is no longer red, but green and features tons of hand-drawn people. What makes these people special is the illustrator of the cup never picked up his/her pen. Every person is connected. This is now considered to be the “unity” cup because it promotes community.

If you haven’t seen the cup yet, here is a picture of it. I bought a peppermint mocha on November 2nd, anxious to start sipping winter flavors.

beer, tea, coffee
Adrianna Sniezek

Before I start talking about this cup and the controversy it created, I'd like to disclose that people are mistaken. This is not Starbucks' holiday cup.

I talked to my local barista, and it's merely a coincidence that this cup came out on the same day the winter flavors did too. The real "holiday" cup will probably come out in a week or so. With that being said, let's pretend that this is their "holiday" cup of the year and why people shouldn't feel attacked by it.

Like many things in this world, this new cup is causing controversy. In the past, Starbucks cups have been red. I briefly want to go into some Starbucks cup history to illustrate the secularization of Starbucks’ iconic “holiday” cup.

In 2010, the cup was very obviously geared toward Christmas. It acted as a tree and was adorned with large ornaments and bulbs that said “hope” and “wish.” Starbucks got a lot of backlash for being one-sided and only supporting Christmas, despite having a customer base that practices many different religions or no religion at all.

So in 2011, Starbucks further secularized their cup to depict a “winter wonderland” scene rather than a Christmas one. They featured snowflakes, sleds, snowmen, and scarves. Nothing to complain about, right? Wrong, people still had something to say about the fact that they were red, which hinted at Christmas.

Starbucks did not pull back on the color though, but in 2014 they transitioned into a signature red cup with very simple, elegant designs. It was only in 2015 that they did a solid red cup. As the years went on, there was still some backlash, but people slowly started to accept and love the red “holiday” cup.

tea, beer
Adrianna Sniezek

Now, we’re here with a green cup celebrating people and unity and people are complaining about it. It’s actually the opposite debate though. Many are saying to bring Christmas back. This Starbucks cup represents the over-secularization of the public atmosphere.

Short answer, I think people are getting way too wound up over a cup, but I’m not going to dismiss something that some people are very wound up about without giving my reasons why.

First, I’d like to say Starbucks is a private company. They can make whatever decisions they want to make regarding religion. Honestly, if they wanted to they could put Jesus’s face on the cup and they would be completely justified.

To start, we need to stop denying the existence of Christmas. It is the Christmas season and Jesus’s birth is the reason that Christmas is a holiday. Many companies bring their religious background into their cooperation, such as Chick-fil-A closing on Sundays.

Even if the religion of the company does not align with your own views, you have the choice to continue to support their product or not. That’s the beauty of a free market.

On the flip side, if Starbucks wants to keep their cup completely separate from Christmas or the religious aspects of winter, that’s completely fine too. Christmas is a time where family comes together.

Today's busy society provides less time for families to connect. Holidays are a special time to slow down and bring everyone in to share a meal and stories from the prior year.

The green unity cup still embraces Christmas and the holiday spirit. It embraces the fact that everyone is coming together to celebrate. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you celebrate as long as you are able to come together with your loved ones.

I think the true unity will be when everyone can look at the world and not complain about the Starbucks cup. It will be when we live in a world where people say “Thank you” after someone says “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” to them rather than, “I don’t celebrate that." They are wishing you a happy time, a time of relaxation, yet many take it as an attempt to convert or an insensitive comment.

If you feel more comfortable saying “Happy Holidays” to someone on the street, then that’s great too. I think we just need to be more accepting and warm towards everyone. This holiday season, we all have one thing in common: we want to be happy, comfortable, and surrounded by loved ones.
chocolate, coffee, sweet, milk, cream
Adrianna Sniezek

In conclusion, I’d like to talk about my mom. She always taught me that I couldn’t please everyone. And in the world we live in with epic social media rants and billions of people with different points of view, that couldn’t be more true.

Everyone will always have something to say, and honestly, that’s a great thing. People are constantly thinking and sharing their thoughts. At the end of the day though, especially with the Christmas cup debate, we need to get less offended.

Starbucks is not changing their cup design around wintertime to attack your religion or lack thereof. They just want to serve you a warm, delicious drink that makes you happy.