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Starbucks - which got a lot of grief during the 2015 holiday season when it used paper coffee cups that did not specifically say "Merry Christmas," thus leading to rampant speculation in some quarters that it was secularizing the holiday - has released its 2016 holiday cup.

And it is also getting some criticisms for the design.

The new green cup, now available in stores, features a design that is a mosaic of more than a hundred people "drawn in one continuous stroke," the company says. The cup does not have Christmas-themed wording; Starbucks is not saying whether it will have other holiday cups available this year.

“The green cup and the design represent the connections Starbucks has as a community with its partners and customers,” says chairman/CEO Howard Schultz. “During a divisive time in our country, Starbucks wanted to create a symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other.”

While some social media commentary approves of the message of inclusivity, other messages called it "ugly" and suggested it was part of a liberal agenda, with some calling for a possible Starbucks boycott.
KC's View:
The good news for Starbucks is that its brand is so deeply engrained into the culture that the design of its cup can create a backlash when some folks don't approve.

I have to be honest, though, and admit that I find this debate to be much ado about nothing. A cup is a cup is a cup. I want it to hold coffee and not leak. Beyond that, I could care less whether the holiday design is Christmas-specific or just generally festive.

But some people are just looking for a fight.