Starbucks is for coffee, not for validating my choice of holidays

Some people are upset because Starbucks Red Cups are not adorned with specific Christmas images this year. A simple design choice on a particular piece of seasonal landfill fodder has been declared part of the alleged “War on Christmas” and has been met with comments that don’t embody the spirit of the holiday people claim to be defending. This Snopes entry gives a good overview of the controversy.

When I go to Starbucks I am there because I want coffee or sometimes tea, and Starbucks tends to be the most omnipresent place to get such beverages. I do hope that the barista is polite or at least not outwardly rude to me. I do not, however, care what holiday may or may not be represented on my cup or in the arbitrary farewell that is given to me.

That said, I feel it’s unfortunate if Starbucks chose a minimalist design for their Red Cups specifically to avoid offending people. Just as I’m not offended if someone doesn’t wish me a Merry Christmas, I’d hope that others wouldn’t be offended by that sentiment even if Christmas is not a holiday they choose to celebrate.

Someone saying “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” or any other standard holiday greeting is no more trying to force their religion on you than someone who says “bless you” after you sneeze. Similarly, someone who chooses to say “Happy Holidays” or “gesundheit” isn’t trying to force secularism on you or take away your freedom of religion.

What some people like to call a “War on Christmas” is just other people trying to be polite. Sometimes those attempts may be unnecessary or misguided, but at least they are trying. In a world where people regularly shoot other people, someone giving someone else a polite greeting–even if it’s not the greeting you prefer this time of year–should be taken for what it is: Nice.

RELATED POST: 4 “Facts” about Christmas that are wrong

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