It’s that time of year again. The weather is getting colder. Warm winter coats come out, snow starts to fall. Every child is on their very best behavior because they know that Santa is taking note… Christmas is almost here.
And this year, Starbucks has caused controversy with their plain, red cup to celebrate the holiday season. Or as the controversy goes, lack of celebration of Christmas.
It is truly unclear where this “controversy” actually started. It really doesn’t seem that Christians are actually upset about the plain red cups that Starbucks is using this year for their holiday cup. In fact, if we look at the Starbuck’s Christmas cups that were used over the last few years, a strong Christmas theme isn’t really prevalent… the cups typically feature more winter themes…
So once and for all, let’s put the controversy to rest. The true meaning behind the Starbucks plain, red cup this year is to celebrate the beauty of Christmas in a simple way. A very basic, yet profound, message.
It is not necessary to have decorations, expensive presents, fancy clothes, or attend every holiday party. Rushing out on Thanksgiving night to be first in line for the most popular toys, video games, or TVs that are on sale isn’t important either. Don’t be sidetracked by the beautiful “things” of the season or get caught up in the hustle-and-bustle of buying the perfect present. Don’t spend so much time focusing on everything about the season that we forget the true reason why we celebrate Christmas.
The first Christmas night was not celebrated with a big party, fancy clothes, or decorations.
The first Christmas took place in the stillness of a manger, surrounded by the subtle sounds of the animals. A young mother had just given birth to a baby boy. She and her husband were undoubtedly tired from their travels and stressed by their lack of accommodations. The birth of the savior was not accompanied by fanfare and pageantry.
I don’t know the motives behind Starbuck’s plain red cup this year. I don’t really know if there was a reason that Starbuck’s chose to use a plain cup this year rather than one with snowflakes, evergreen trees, carolers, or even ornaments. And while I don’t really think there is a controversy over this—in fact, I don’t know anyone who actually cares—instead of choosing to be offended by the lack of acknowledgement of Christmas, or even letting this story prevail, let’s instead choose to look at a potential good explanation of the plain red cup.
After all, red is a traditional Christmas color and has significant meaning associated with Christmas: “From Santa’s cozy suit to Rudolph’s glowing nose to ribbon-framed wreaths, red is the most visible color of the season. The vibrant shade has strong cultural associations with love, health and power. Winter greenery that sprouts red berries, such as holly, is especially popular at Christmas. Santa’s red suit originated with St. Nicholas of Myrna, a red-robed Greek bishop who gave presents to children during the fourth century, notes the encyclopedia “Religions of the World.” Red is also a powerful religious symbol used to represent the death of Jesus and the passion of the Holy Spirit.”
Perhaps, we can all learn a lot about Christmas from a plain, red cup. Focus on simplifying your Christmas this year and taking time to remember that Jesus is the true reason for the season.