The red cups have been released at Starbucks, signaling the unofficial start of the winter holiday season.

While there was controversy over the designs on the red cups last year, it appears as though Starbucks has addressed the issues and customers and Keene State College students alike are satisfied with the new designs.

Avery Black is a KSC junior who has been working at the Keene Starbucks on West Street for the past six months, but has been a customer of the chain for years.

“I always look forward to the holidays at Starbucks,” said Black. “I think the idea of the red cups is really cute.”

Starbucks has been putting out Christmas themed red cups for their hot drinks since 1997, but in 2015, complaints began to surface.

The majority of the complaints circled around the underrepresentation of other holidays and cultures on the cups.

“I didn’t really pay that much attention to any controversy over the red cups because it’s just a cup,” Black said.

Samantha Moore/ Art Director

Samantha Moore/ Art Director

“I’ve never felt like the company has done anything wrong in terms of cup designs; they’re always really nice, and these ones are super cozy this year.”

The “cozy” design that Black is referring to is Starbucks’ way of combating the controversy—instead of releasing Christmas themed red cups this year, they put out 13 designs submitted from customers around the world, all focusing on the winter season instead of any specific holiday.

Black said that since the release of the 2016 red cups, she’s overhead customers raving about the designs.

“I’m happy I work for a company that involves its customers in these kinds of things. It makes it feel really personalized, especially since there are multiple designs,” Black said.

KSC senior Lea Guglielmo frequents Starbucks about twice a week and said that she loves to get the peppermint mocha latté before class.

“I love the red cups,” Guglielmo said, adding that she looks forward to the holiday specials the chain offers every year.

As for the red cup controversy, however, she said she thinks that people are overreacting,

“Red does not represent Christmas necessarily,” Guglielmo said, but added that everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

“I think it was a very cool thing Starbucks did,” Guglielmo said.

“I think it’s awesome that the cups are now designed by consumers. It’s almost like they have a little personal touch. Each cup is different, which I like. I’m glad they chose to go this route rather than getting rid of the holiday cups altogether.”

KSC senior Robert Peterson  said he has only been a Starbucks regular for about a year.

Like Guglielmo, Peterson’s  favorite holiday special is the peppermint mocha latté.

Peterson said that while he personally has not been offended by the holiday design (or lack thereof) on the Starbucks cups, he can sympathize with those who do.

Peterson said, “I can definitely empathize with those who feel marginalized or offended by the lack of representation their faith received [on the cups].”

With that being said, Peterson said he thinks Starbucks’ latest red cups work perfectly.

“I don’t think Starbucks ever had the intention of promoting any particular faith,” he  said, “and therefore removing all imagery that could have religious affiliation and replacing it with winter art seems like a good decision.”

Jill Giambruno can be contacted at

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