Enough about the cup

Courtesy // Tiffany McGaughey

Courtesy // Tiffany McGaughey

Snowflakes, Santa Claus, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: that’s what the holiday season is all about, right?
At least, this is the truth for a group of extremist Christians that are referring to Starbucks’ new holiday cup as perpetuating the so-called “War on Christmas.”
The recently trending hashtag #MerryChristmasStarbucks is bringing an exaggerated amount of attention to the already viral Starbucks holiday cup controversy. When the cups were released in late October, they created a stir with those who feel the cup is disrespecting the Christmas season.
The company responded to criticisms by saying, “The cup is meant to be a blank canvas that encourages customers to tell their Christmas stories in their own way.”
The red cup has been making waves on the internet after a viral video surfaced depicting a—to say the least—disappointed Starbucks customer accusing the brand of stripping away the true meaning of Christmas.
Josua Feuerstein, a former pastor and evangelist, posted a video to Facebook on Nov. 5 saying that the coffee giant removing the usual Christmas pattern is a response to them “hating Jesus.” The video has now been viewed more than 15 million times.     
The controversy extended beyond the internet and into the realm of politics when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump suggested a boycott against the company.
“If I become president, we’re all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you,” Trump said during a campaign rally.
The fact that Americans are fighting over what is printed on a coffee cup designed by a billion-dollar company to promote conformity is despicable.
While the world rages on about socioeconomic issues like starvation, homelessness and racial inequality, people in America are arguing over a red beverage container. Having such a trivial topic become so vastly talked about is a prime example of American internet culture and the ignorance that fuels it.
The idea that a single YouTube video made by an amateur vlogger can amass so much hysteria proves that people will hop on any bandwagon that is popular at the time, regardless of their personal views.
The design of Starbucks red cups wouldn’t be as big of a news story if the internet wasn’t so predisposed to outrage. The supposed “War on Christmas” has turned into a social experiment on how a business can get into consumers’ subconscious. It’s outright embarrassing that there are currently 9.2 million news stories on this controversy according to CNBC.
Despite the generous following Feuerstein gained to back his opinions, there are many Christians coming forward to debunk his argument.
“I do have issues with #MerryChristmasStarbucks, though. Most of American Christianity’s blatant problems are exposed in this one excruciatingly real social campaign,” Nate Lake, a Christian college student and soon-to-be Starbucks employee wrote in a blog post that’s gone viral in the wake of the red cup chaos.
 There are other counter hashtags emerging such as #ItsJustACup in an effort to derail these extreme allegations.
“Creating a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity is one of the core values of Starbucks, and each year during the holidays the company aims to bring customers an experience that inspires the spirit of the season,” said Starbucks vice president of design and content, Jeffrey Fields in a statement on Starbucks’ website. “Starbucks will continue to embrace and welcome customers from all backgrounds and religions in our stores around the world.”
Regardless of whether one’s religion is Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish or agnostic, this time of year is sentimental for everyone.
Keeping an open mind and accepting each other regardless of race or religion is a problem Americans continue to struggle with.
 The holiday season is a time for people to spend with their loved ones and appreciate the important things in life, and the design of a paper cup should not be the priority.
If everyone directed their energy towards better outlets, there would be potential to make a big difference.