Christmas & Starbucks: a match made in heaven

How attached are you to your humble takeaway coffee cup? While you may answer “not very”, the majority of us are more passionate about the paper cup than we might realise. Paper cup retailer Inn Supplies explains more…

Each year, many of us anticipate the release of Starbucks’ red coffee cups. With a throng of social media supporters, the release has gained popularity over the years and has now become synonymous with Christmas, cementing itself amongst festive favourites like the John Lewis Christmas advert and the red Coca Cola truck.

The coffee giant released their festive cups on November 10th this year to much praise from coffee-lovers. Instead of releasing just one Christmas design, the brand unveiled 13 varieties, each designed by aspiring artists from across the world.

On the same day, a video showing all of the festive cups was posted on the official Starbucks Instagram page. In the space of just 20 hours, the video was viewed 879,000 times, receiving 282,000 likes and 5,453 comments, as people shared their favourite time of the year with their friends.

The chatter continued over on Twitter. Released on the same day as John Lewis’ much-anticipated Buster the Boxer Christmas ad, the #redcups hashtag was trending higher in the UK than John Lewis’s effort, illustrating just how well-loved the cups are.

With this year’s overwhelmingly positive reaction, last year’s response was very different. In 2015, Starbucks’ festive cups featured a plain red, ombre design, without any festive designs. This was a controversial move for some, who declared that Starbucks had a “war on Christmas” by removing the Christmas-inspired designs.

Starbucks said the cups were designed to promote inclusion, as the plain cup invited customers to doodle and create their own patterns. However, some customers resorted to telling baristas their name was ‘Merry Christmas’ and other festive sayings, so they would have to write them on the cups.

Not all Starbucks customers shared the same opinion. A rival hashtag — #JustACup — was established in mockery of the complaint. By handing over the task of designing the cups to the public, it seems Starbucks has mitigated any potential controversy this year.

The very first festive Starbucks cup was released in 1997, featuring rich jewel tones. Every year since, the cups have been used and are said to tell a story of the holidays. As the Starbucks coffee cup becomes further entwined with Christmas, it’s set to be a tradition that continues for many years to come.

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