Starbucks’ Red Christmas Cups for 2016 Probably Won’t Offend Anybody (Probably)

Wintry spirit is back after 2015's minimalist take

Starbucks wants consumers to know it's heard their deep concerns about its Christmas cups, and has worked hard to rectify the situation.

Last year, the coffee chain sparked the world's most absurd controversy by stripping holiday imagery like snowflakes and reindeer from its disposable red drinking vessels.

Some very adult Christian audiences took that move—meant to set an inclusive tone—as a personal affront, in the form of persecution against their religion, and a sign of the unbearable tyranny of political correctness.

Now, Starbucks and agency 72andSunny have returned to typical form by restoring the wintry spirit to the cup, using designs consumers drew onto the plainer 2015 versions.

This year's versions include the aforementioned snowflakes, and reindeer, as well as images like evergreen trees, Christmas lights and Christmas tree ornaments. Other cups feature more neutral patterns.

They are pretty, and like plain red cups, relatively harmless (though people seem to get riled up about pretty much any Starbucks cup these days). The fact is, though, it probably doesn't matter much, either way. Starbucks can count on sleepless Americans buying a lot more coffee this December, regardless. 

And by the way, if you think Starbucks didn't love last year's cup controversy, have a look at the teaser video below, released earlier last week for the new cups. The chain clearly knows the PR value of a good consumer freak-out.