'Tis the season of giving... criticism. The end of the year wouldn't be complete without some sort of backlash from angry Scrooges looking to dim the sparkle of the holiday lights, even over something as minor as coffee. Once again, Starbucks' holiday cups are being criticized — this time for supposedly promoting a "gay agenda" — and the preposterousness of it all is enough to make customers spill their Peppermint Mocha.
This year marks a first for the company. Its annual holiday cups received a makeover with a color-in design so coffee lovers could put their own twist on their order. Though people are allowed to style their cup until their heart's content, illustrator and cup designer Jordan Kay did have a plan in mind with her theme.
"I liked the idea of hands as the centering point, a symbol of connection, love and giving joy, whether it’s wrapping presents or decorating a tree, writing cards, or enjoying a mug of cocoa,” she said in a statement.
But connectivity isn't the only statement the 2017 cups are trying to promote. For hot beverages, Starbucks patrons are given a red cup sleeve that reads, "Give Good."
“Giving good can be as small as someone opening the door for you, or recognizing the people that enrich your life — your child’s teacher, a caregiver, a family friend,” Leanne Fremar, executive creative director for Starbucks said in a statement. “The holidays are a time to celebrate all the good we give to each other and our community.”
But some people just had to squash the sentimentality. After a commercial was released promoting the new design, some insisted that the two cartoon women in the short sketch were promoting homosexuality — and in turn, what started off as a sweet message turned into a debate, especially over the two hands Kay designed.
BuzzFeed got the ball rolling with the cup criticism, according to The New York Times. Once the site's headline "People Are Saying Starbucks' New Holiday Cup Is Totally Gay" appeared — along with the poll questioning readers if the holiday cups are in fact gay — there wasn't a fighting chance for this issue on the internet. The fire was officially ignited once Fox News picked up the story. It said BuzzFeed "asserted the hypothesis is fact" and The Blaze said the company "launched a gay agenda campaign," The Times further stated. The commenters, trolls, and everyone lurking in the dark corners of the internet appeared with an opinion of their own.
Regardless of what the Starbucks cup means, customers should just promote kindness and love to everyone, no matter their race, religion, or sexual orientation. The holidays are supposed to be about love and generosity, yet too many issues seem to get in the way. For those who are actually looking for a winter treat at Starbucks instead of a debate, might I suggest the new Toffee Almondmilk Hot Chocolate? The treat — which will be available year-round — is just the right amount of sweet. None of the flavors overwhelm one another, so the blend of Almondmilk, toffee, and chocolate complements each other well. If you're OK with dairy, make sure your barista gives a nice scoop of whipped cream. It's the perfect finishing touch to your drink (which is better suited for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up instead of your morning order).
Let's just take this time of year to celebrate our faith, one another, and everything we love. Can we cut the Starbucks cup drama tradition short and just enjoy a warm drink?