I am outraged, dear readers, and let me tell you why.
Imagine this scenario: on the morning of November 1st, you head over to your local Starbucks for a pick-me-up to cope with your post-Samhain lethargy — when the barista hands you your usual (venti nonfat, half-caf, no-whip, no foam latte, with a slight dusting of cinnamon (but no nutmeg!)) in this monstrosity:
I ask you, what would you think? How would you feel, confronted with such an outrageous, bald-faced example of Christian propaganda being shoved down your throat?
Where are the classic Pagan symbols of holiday cheer that we’ve come to know and love so well? Every year, Starbucks incorporates a wide variety of anti-Christian imagery onto their seasonal cups: from polytheistic depictions of elves and Old Man Winter, to Wiccan ritual tools like silver bells, candles and crystal balls, animistic talking reindeer and sentient snowmen, even godless environmentalist images of fir trees, birds and snowflakes.
But not this year, oh no! This year, Starbucks has completely capitulated to the growing pressure from right-wing fundamentalist Christian groups to “put the Christ back in Yule” by creating a holiday cup design that not only rejects all the Pagan symbolism of this blessed time of year, but actively promotes a Christian worldview.
Don’t believe me? Consider this:
• The cup is a bright red: symbolizing the blood of Christ, who suffered on the cross.
• The Starbucks logo is green, symbolizing the everlasting life given to the followers of Christ by God.
• The Starbucks logo itself depicts a smiling woman wearing a starry crown, holding what looks like some kind of scarf, blanket or other fabric: this is clearly meant to represent the Virgin Mary, sometimes called the Queen of Heaven, holding the swaddling clothes with which she wrapped the baby Jesus. The woman is depicted in white against a green background, symbolizing Mary’s everlasting virginity; her breasts are covered, symbolizing the immaculate conception.
• The star in the woman’s crown is the Star of Bethlehem that led the Wise Men to baby Jesus in the manger.
• The lid of the cup is white — symbolizing the perfect purity of God in the “vault of heaven” (which is above all things, like the lid is above the contents of the cup) — and plastic — symbolizing God’s incorruptibility, for He is not susceptible to the processes of death and decay that inevitably break down all things on this fallen earth.
• In several places, the cup includes a warning that “Contents are extremely hot.” Not only is this a nod to the Christian extremists that Starbucks is attempting to placate, but it also references how Jesus said he detests “lukewarm” believers.
• The protective sleeve that comes with the cup is an undyed corrugated cardboard, labeled “85% post-consumer content” — this symbolizes God’s humble incarnation as Christ in the lowly form of a human baby, in order to save believers from the burning fires of Hell. However, the sleeve also states, “Intended for single use only,” reminding believers that they have only this one lifetime in which to turn to God, or else face eternal damnation.
• The whole design of the cup is intentionally minimalist, symbolizing the asceticism of the early Desert Fathers who followed Christ’s example of rejecting worldly power while wandering in the desert. There are no other symbols on the cup, symbolizing an ideal Christianity free from the corruption of foreign Pagan influences.
If that wasn’t enough, look carefully at the cup one more time: the color actually fades from a darker cranberry red on the bottom into a lighter, energetic poppy red on top, symbolizing the ascent of Christ’s followers towards the lighter, brighter purity of heaven — but this ombré effect is incredibly subtle and difficult to notice, just like Christian propaganda itself.
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’ve probably heard the rumors going around online about how some Christians are upset at Starbucks for their holiday cup designs this year, claiming that it shows how Starbucks actually “hates Jesus.” But those people have it all wrong! Would a company that hates Jesus roll out their winter holiday-themed cups literally the very morning after the biggest Pagan holy day of the year? I don’t think so! Starbucks couldn’t wait to start pumping out their Christian message as quickly as they pump out their eggnog and peppermint-flavored coffee blends.
So this year, think carefully about your coffee choices. I won’t ask you to boycott Starbucks — I’m not a monster — but why not have a bit of fun? When you get your plain red Starbucks cup, take the opportunity to decorate it with as many Pagan and Yule designs as you can! Or, trick that hard-working bedraggled barista into decorating it for you by telling her that your name is “Snowflake, Snowflake, Christmas Tree, Rudolph, Happy Snowman,” spelled entirely in emoji.
That’ll show ’em! That’ll show ’em all…