(FOX 11) - Starbucks released its annual red cup last week, which has become the official start of the holiday season for caffeine addicts.
From Christine O'Donnell:
Some people are wondering if corporations like Starbucks are declaring “war on Christmas?” all this because of the lack of Christmas decor.
Former pastor from Arizona Joshua Feuerstein says he was so upset about the lack of Christmas decor on Starbucks' red cups he posted a video, starting a viral frenzy.
”I decided that instead of simply boycotting Starbucks, why not start a movement? So, when I went and asked for my coffee, they asked for my name and I said my name is 'Merry Christmas.' so guess what Starbucks? I tricked you into putting Merry Christmas on your cup," Feuerstein said in his Facebook video.
Now, his video has been viewed more than 13 Million times, shared by dozens and thousands of people are posting pictures of themselves with the #merrychristmasstarbucks hastag. FOX11's Christine O'Donnell spoke to him over Skype.
"There’s a lot of people saying, what are you making a big deal about a cup for, I say I think it’s symbolic of something much larger and that’s the war on Christmas that’s taking place in society," Feuerstein said.
"It shows peoples frustration with the politically correct police who seem to want to take the Christmas out of the holiday season, trying to white wash it," Feuerstein said.
O'Donnell asked some local Starbucks customers what they thought about the cups.
"I think they should put every holiday on them," Michaelangelo Antoci said.
"For me the trigger is that it’s red;" David Guzman said, "We drink the coffee and then throw it away."
Now for the controversy at Del Amo Shopping Center. A spokesperson for the corporation that owns the mall (Simon Malls) says instead of featuring the usual santa village, they were planning to have a Glacier Set up like the one in at a South Carolina Mall. Shoppers there were so upset they protested on social media.
Since then, the corporation issued this apology to customers.
“It was our intention to experiment with delivering a modern interactive experience for the family. After listening to customer feedback, we immediately decided to reinstall our exciting Christmas decor.” - David Contis, President, Simon Malls
As for Starbucks, a spokesperson says the company wanted its red cups to be a blank canvas for christmas stories and and to “create a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity.” -Starbucks Spokesperson
As it turns out, some Christians don’t agree.
"Starbucks, is going to have to wake up and learn that they along with several other corporations, are going to have to stand up with hair on their chest and put the christmas narrative back in christmas," Feuerstein said.
Starbucks says they'll be officially launching their holiday season, including their "Christmas Blend Coffee" tomorrow.
Since the first red cup in 1997, Starbucks has used it to tell a story of the holidays by featuring symbols of the season, like hand-drawn ornaments and reindeer.
"This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories," Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks’ vice president of design, said in a statement.
"Starbucks has become a place of sanctuary during the holidays. We're embracing the simplicity and the quietness of it."
However, some have taken to social media to complain about the new Starbucks holiday cup, which they say lacks festive cheer.
An article posted on Breitbart London even called the 2015 red cups part of the "War on Christmas."
"This is a denial of historical reality and the great Christian heritage behind the American Dream that has so benefitted Starbucks," wrote Andrea Williams of the U.K.'s Christian Concern.
In a viral Facebook post, former pastor Joshua Feuerstein claimed that he "pranked" Starbucks by telling them his name was "Merry Christmas" so the barista would have to write the words "Merry Christmas" on the cup.
Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus ... SO I PRANKED THEM ... and they HATE IT!!!! #shareUse #MERRYCHRISTMASSTARBUCKSFollow --> Joshua FeuersteinPosted by Joshua Feuerstein on Thursday, November 5, 2015
Something important to note is that the previous red cups at Starbucks have not featured openly religious symbols.
In addition, those expressing their dislike for the design do not represent all Christians or the rest of Starbucks drinkers.
Some liked the design or simply just felt it was a non-issue.
Companies shouldn't be bullied or strong-armed into celebrating religious holidays. The #MerryChristmasStarbucks thing is a made-up problem.— Karli Sandos (@KarliSandos) November 8, 2015
I can't wait until my life is so carefree, that my biggest concern at the holidays is the color of a coffee cup. #MerryChristmasStarbucks— PC Gamer Girl (@pcgamergirl) November 8, 2015