Lately there has been a news story circulating that depicts a slightly ridiculous controversy that reveals a lot of our country’s expectations about how Christmas is supposed to be experienced. The controversy I am referring to is the current change of the Starbuck’s Coffee holiday cups. Every year Starbucks comes out with holiday cups in the winter winter season. This year, they decided to just make the cups red which angered some Christians. A Christian internet personality, Joshua Feuerstein, made a claim that this change is because Starbucks “hates Jesus”. He got #merrychristmasstarbucks to trend on several social media sites in an attempt to get Starbucks to add Christmas imagery back onto their cups.
The fact that there is so much disagreement and controversy over a cup just seems crazy. This controversy is about so much more than a cup though. The previous holiday cups did not even have religious symbols on them. Previous images found on the cup were reindeer, ornaments, and snowmen. Starbucks did not put nativity scenes on the cups. The symbols that were used are symbols often seen in Christmas advertising. They are a part of a lifestyle that includes a Christmas where children are told of reindeer, hang ornaments on a tree, and build snowmen. People associate these symbols with Christmas, because advertising associates these images with Christmas. These symbols have nothing to do with the original religious based reason for the holiday, but these are used in holiday advertising and are expected during this season.
We discussed in class how Charles Dickens did not advertise in his Christmas Carols, because his Christmas stories were advertisements. Christmas has been advertised as a lifestyle for years. These stories did not have a religious basis, but they advertised Christmas. I wonder if there would have been a backlash if he published a story not about Christmas when people expected a Christmas story from him. Christmas has been advertised for so long that people seem to believe it needs to be advertised. Some Christians are worried that not advertising Christmas could hurt Christianity. Dickens began a trend of advertising that appears will not end any time soon if Joshua Feuerstein has anything to say about it.
Here is an article about the corntroversy from CNN