I am sure that at this point everyone has had their fill of the “Starbucks Red Cup Controversy.” I have not actually met anyone angry about the red cup, only people who are angry at the fact that others are upset about it. This whole ordeal has me thinking, who is really to say what “Christmas” is anymore? Hopefully, we as species are at a point in evolution where Christmas can mean whatever we individually want it to mean.
Don’t believe me? Well let us take a look through history. In Christianity’s early years, Easter was the main holiday to be celebrated. Until the fourth century, Jesus’ birth was not a holiday. After all, his actual date of birth is never clearly stated in the Bible. Common belief is that the Pope chose December 25th as the day to celebrate so that it would both coincide with and adopt the traditions of the Pagan Saturnalia festival, which was already popular in Rome. Why? In my opinion, the Pope was doing this as an effort to make it easier to convert people to Christianity, although he also made the holiday easier to celebrate for all of the above.
Overall I think Starbucks has the right idea with their plain red cup. The intentional omission of specific Christmas wording and iconography serves to make their product, in fact, more inclusive. When all is said and done, Christmas’ core principles of peace, love, happiness, and togetherness are not strictly Christian and possibly the plain red cup now helps promote that very notion.
The real question is: does religion really have to play into whether or not someone can celebrate Christmas? I was not raised in a religious household, and in fact I didn’t even know who Jesus was until elementary school. Even then it was a shaky concept for me.
However without fail, every year my family has come together to celebrate Christmas. Of course our celebration can differ from others’ experiences. But that all harkens back to my point being there is no singular meaning of Christmas. To me, Christmas means a nice brunch and afterwards being able to visit with family members I don’t get to see every day. I’ve never celebrated Christmas in a particularly Christian way, yet I still celebrate it because it can be interpreted to mean different things to different people.