With the end of Halloween and the beginning of the Christmas season, stores have quickly made the shift from fall to winter merchandise. Following the seasonal trend, Starbucks Coffee Company has welcomed the return of their signature red holiday cup. However, compared to previous years, the cup’s design lacks the usual seasonal décor of snowmen, snowflakes and ornaments.

The 2015 holiday cup has sparked controversy because of its lack of Christmas decoration. These previous cups, however seasonal they seemed, also failed to capture the true essence of Christmas. Several people have tweeted and a few have made videos criticizing Starbucks’ new cups. Most notably, the hashtag #boycottstarbucks has gained media attention, calling on Christians to stand up to the coffee house’s “attempt at removing Christmas from the holiday season.” As a Catholic myself, I was amazed and frankly a little appalled to hear there was even a little bit of controversy surrounding the decorations on a coffee cup, which will undoubtedly be thrown away as soon as the drink runs out.

By stirring up controversy based on a cup’s design, I believe that we are belittling the true meaning of Christmas. A lot of the controversy came from the idea that, by removing seasonal designs, Starbucks is attempting to remove the religious meaning of Christmas. If we give a cup the power to take “Christ out of Christmas,” the Christmas spirit has been completely undermined. Moreover, it is interesting to note that the boycott just occurred this year, while the cups from other years hardly emphasized the true meaning of Christmas. Previous cups may have included snowflakes and snowmen, but Starbucks is hardly making a religious statement by removing the holiday symbols, which had more to do with the season than the holiday.

Dunkin Donuts, a major coffeehouse chain competitor of Starbucks, recently released their holiday design that proudly proclaims the word “joy” on every customer’s cup. While this delves a little deeper into the meaning of Christmas, I believe Dunkin Donuts is salvaging this moment to pick up disappointed Starbucks drinkers — but also missing the purpose of the holiday season. A cup cannot take away the religious meaning behind a holiday and therefore, people shouldn’t let it ruin their Christmas.

The notion of boycotting Starbucks also pulls away attention from the true spirit of Christmas time. While people have called upon Christians to rise up against this Starbucks controversy in order to profess their religious strength, I believe taking action against a cup proves the opposite. Christmas is a time to be merry and caring. Take the opportunity to thank the barista at the Starbucks before thinking about how to trick him or her into writing “Christmas” on your cup. Celebrate Christmas by being grateful that you are blessed enough to buy a ridiculously expensive cup of coffee. The meaning of Christmas will be much more prominent if people act kindly than if a cup had an ornament design on it.

If I took anything away from the petty controversy, it would be that the meaning of Christmas is being lost in our society not because of a cup, but rather because of the fuss people are making due to the cup’s design. If I could offer one piece of advice to everyone, especially those students at Fairfield who practically live off of the Starbucks on campus and in town, it would be to cherish the Christmas season, not by boycotting a coffee house, but rather by celebrating the fact that you are blessed enough to be able to afford Starbucks in the first place.

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