I am not a coffee drinker. And I will tell you straight up, I’ve dealt with Starbucks on the business end and I think little of them. My personal opinion of their products is that they sell an over-priced offering that has zero appeal to me. Yes, I’ve been in a few of their locations and purchased pastries and cocoa and each time my experience has been negative because of various reasons. So I’m the last guy on earth to defend them, especially given my known stance on all things Christmas.
But I have a message to my Christmas friends who are plastering social media with outrage over Starbucks red cups for Christmas 2015: stop. Knock it off. Stop losing your heads over a cup. You’ve been manipulated by a clever media hit piece and it’s being fueled by an ill advised response from Starbucks.
Two parallel protests happened last week in the name of Christmas. The first was this Starbucks thing when a commentator on Breitbart snarked about how Starbucks is ruining Christmas and declaring war on Christians with these red cups. The second was the opening of the “Santa Glacier Experience” in several malls — a Santa set so ugly and non-traditional that shoppers protested the absence of even a Christmas tree almost immediately.
Both scenarios played out on social media with your typical outrage. By the end of the weekend, however, the Santa glaciers were gone but Starbucks cups remain. What happened? Why didn’t the pro-Christmas forces win over the evils of anti-Christmas corporate entities in all cases?
It’s really pretty simple. The accusation against Starbucks simply isn’t true. They aren’t anti-Christmas. Consider the stuff nobody is talking about — and the stuff I detest talking about because I think Starbucks is as greedy as any corporate entity at the end of the day when it comes to Christmas:
This is the Starbucks advent calendar. It is shaped like a Christmas tree. And, it’s an advent calendar! What are they counting down to? But wait, there’s more:
Behold the Starbucks gift card. It says “Merry Christmas”. Nothing anti-Christmas there. Here’s another gift card:
Hmmm. A Christmas tree. Ok, but what about the colors? That’s really what the flap over the cups are about. The colors of Christmas are red, green, gold, white, deep purple, and sometimes anything else. Take a look at a few of their coffees:
Now, I hate to say it, but it looks to me like Starbucks has Christmas pretty well covered.
Forget the high-minded bluster of their PR people over the weekend who all but declared Starbucks a church. “Starbucks has become a place of sanctuary during the holidays. We’re embracing the simplicity and the quietness of it. It’s [a] more open way to usher in the holiday.”
That’s enough to make me puke.
But the media spins both ways. Today in the Washington post the Christian pastor who started the furor with an outraged video on Facebook riling up his thousands of fans says “The cup is symbolic of a larger war against Christianity in this country. The policemen of political correctness have demanded that the silent majority bend its knee to a vocal minority. Starbucks and others know that Americans are drawing a line in the sand and refusing to remain silent any longer.”
Well, hold on there, Cowboy.
Let’s be perfectly clear: there isn’t anything Starbucks or any other corporate entity will do that defines my Christmas. If what they sell offends me, guess what? I won’t buy from them. That’s the great American way. I don’t need to be led in a debate over Christmas and I certainly don’t need Jesus on my cups in order for it to be Christmas.
In fact, I would remind those marching into Starbucks today and claiming their names are “Merry Christmas” just so the barista has to write in on their cups to think about what they are doing. You aren’t stopping the “war on Christmas” with this nonsense. You’re proving you are sheep — willing to go off the edge of the cliff because some yahoo pastor hasn’t done his homework and wouldn’t know Christmas from a hole in the ground.
Take a lesson from Dr. Seuss: Christmas doesn’t come from a store.
The mall guys got it. They removed Santa-on-an-ice-cube because their customers wanted something different. It wasn’t going to sell.
Starbucks gets it too. Clearly they covered their Christmas bases. They might be following their political agenda with all the talk of inclusiveness but, doggone it, they along the way have seemed to included the fans of Christmas.
And if their cups didn’t work and there’s a big sales decline this year? Guess what? They will adjust.
But for now they are holding firm and so should you.
Enjoy your Christmas.
Buy your coffee somewhere else if it offends you.
And don’t make your coffee shop your church. Your church is labeled the right way and that’s where you should be looking for the real Christmas anyway.