With Halloween come and gone, it's the time of year that folks start basting their Thanksgiving turkeys and put up their Christmas trees. And with Starbucks releasing their annual holiday-themed cups, some people are again criticizing the coffee giant for its approach.
Starbucks has released holiday cups for the past two decades. Most have gone by without a problem, but for the last few years, it has become a tradition for the Seattle-based company to get an earful over the cup designs.
Starbucks has released specially designed red holiday cups since 1997.
Unlike recent monochromatic red cups — which for the last two years caused a stir because some said they were part of a "War on Christmas" — this year's cup prominently displays Christmas and holiday themes with a color-it-in-yourself design.
It features wrapped gifts, peace doves, Christmas trees, stars, snowflakes — oh, and a pair of interlocked hands that appear to both be female.
The hands have some online saying Starbucks is promoting a "gay agenda," including conservative news and commentary site The Blaze. In another online post, Fox News presented a similar hypothesis, noting that some are calling, again, for a boycott.
But most of the response online seems to be positive.
The company appears to be trying to strike an inclusive tone this year, releasing a video that displays a diverse cast of characters celebrating the holiday season.
A Korean cartoon character writes a holiday card while video chatting with what seems to be her grandmother. A cartoon father and daughter adorn a Christmas tree with decorations. What appears to be an interracial couple walks along a path.
Toward the end of a video, what appears to be a lesbian couple leans in for a kiss, which has some up in arms. Starbucks has not confirmed or denied if the hands on the cup are the two women or what the context of their relationship is. But the company has responded positively to tweets applauding the design as LGBT inclusive.
Starbucks, in a press release, said their cups are an "invitation to 'Give Good,'" their holiday campaign this year.
“Giving good can be as small as someone opening the door for you, or recognizing the people that enrich your life – your child’s teacher, a caregiver, a family friend,” said Leanne Fremar, executive creative director for Starbucks. “The holidays are a time to celebrate all the good we give to each other and our community.”