For Starbucks fans, the unofficial start of the holiday season has arrived.
On Thursday, Starbucks stores around the world began serving coffees and lattes in the 2017 edition of their holiday red cups. This year, coffee and tea drinkers will take sips from a range of 13 distinct cups, each designed by a Starbucks customer from around the world.
Anticipation for this year’s holiday red cup is particularly high, following a spate of controversies involving their political green cup released earlier this month, and last year’s holiday edition which angered some consumers.
When Starbucks released its minimalist red, white and green cup last year, devoid of Christmas images — notably Christmas trees and decorations — some Christian consumers called the cup a “war on Christmas” and a larger war on Christianity in America.
The same was said of the chain’s green cups which were introduced earlier this month before the US election. The limited-edition cups represented coffee farmers, baristas, family and friends and were drawn in one continuous stroke to represent unity during a divisive time.
But the good intentions backfired with some consumers blasting the company for wading into politics. Others, mistakenly believing the green cups had replaced the traditional holiday cups, resurrected the accusation that Starbucks was waging “war on Christmas.”
Meanwhile, this year’s cups were a year in the making. Last year, Starbucks invited consumers to share and submit cup designs on Instagram. More than 1,200 designs were shared from 13 countries including the US, Indonesia, Canada and Dubai.
Unlike last year, the cups are distinctly seasonal, with graphic designs of snowflakes, Christmas ornaments, reindeer and sleighs.
A total of 13 designs were chosen from six countries and will be served in more than 25,000 stores in 75 countries.
Canadian coffee and donut giant Tim Hortons also released its holiday cups this week, which turn coffee and hot chocolate drinkers into snowmen, reindeer, and toy soldiers thanks to cheeky designs that feature the bottom half of wintry characters.
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