Approximately 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee on a daily basis. For die-hard java addicts, getting their hands on the infamous Starbucks holiday cups is a seasonal must. Every year, it seems like the cups come with their own dose of controversy (and this year was no exception). But these cheery receptacles can serve a purpose even when your choice of beverage is all gone: you can decorate them to relieve stress and express your own holiday spirit.
Although this year’s cups caused a bit of a stir in some conservative circles, the real story is about the creativity they offer. Starbucks was inspired by their customers who have often made art out their cups in the past.
According to a press release, executive creative director Leanne Fremar explains, “This year’s cup is intentionally designed to encourage our customers to add their own color and illustrations. We love the idea of everyone making this year’s cup their own.”
Not only is the idea one that gets customers more involved in their caffeine experience, but coloring in their cups may also help make people less stressed. Around 94% of survey respondents say that having art in their workplace makes the environment more welcoming and 61% say it increases creativity. Some would argue that having coffee in the workplace can accomplish those same things. But art can also be a valuable stress-reliever, as is evidenced by the adult coloring book trend that emerged a couple of years ago. This way, coffee drinkers can get their caffeine fix and get their creative juices flowing at the same time while potentially reducing stress.
Starbucks has made a tradition of paying homage to creative customers. Last holiday season, they released 13 cups with customer-made designs that centered around seasonal themes. Now, the corporation is letting consumers take charge and let their imaginations run wild. A spokesperson for the company told the Huffington Post that most U.S. Starbucks locations will even supply colored pencils for customers to use.
The color-in cups, which are now available in U.S. and Canada, are mostly white with a tree, a pile of presents, hands holding coffee cups, and the ubiquitous Starbucks logo in pops of color. The accompanying sleeve bears the message, “Give Good,” which urges consumers to celebrate the good in their communities and recognize those who make a difference in their lives.
As in years past, the reactions to Starbucks’ holiday cups has been rather mixed. Most of their holiday cups have prominently featured the color red in their design, but they haven’t always gone the traditional route — a decision that has pleased some while angering others. It’s almost become a tradition for the chain’s holiday release to upset someone, and this year, some people are convinced that Starbucks is trying to push a “gay agenda” onto consumers.
Some outlets have taken off running with that conspiracy, but the company said via spokesperson Sania Gould: “This year’s hand-drawn cup features scenes of celebrating with loved ones — whoever they may be. We intentionally designed the cup so our customers can interpret it in their own way, adding their own color and illustrations.”
Considering that American consumers drink an average of 1.64 cups of coffee every day, it’s likely that this yuletide debate won’t deter customers from getting their fix. Plus, because the company’s much-loved seasonal beverages — like the Holiday Spice Flat White, Gingerbread Latte, Peppermint Mocha, and Chestnut Praline Latte — have returned, those who need their daily cup of joe have plenty of options to warm their hearts and tummies. And when they color, they don’t even have to stay inside the lines — even if they have to stand in one to get their favorite drink.