An evangelical activist decried the lack of the word Christmas on this year's holiday cups at Starbucks. (Starbucks) An evangelical activist decried the lack of the word Christmas on this year's holiday cups at Starbucks. (Starbucks)

An evangelical activist decried the lack of the word Christmas on this year's holiday cups at Starbucks. (Starbucks)

Jon Greenberg
By Jon Greenberg November 11, 2015

Evangelical activist focuses on lack of Christmas on new Starbucks cups

Joshua Feuerstein bills himself as an American evangelist and social media personality who connects with the Millennial generation. Feuerstein made a strong connection recently: A video he posted mocking the new Christmas cup from Starbucks was shared over 500,000 times, and got Feuerstein on CNN.

In the video, Feuerstein bemoaned the absence of the word "Christmas" on the cups.

"Do you realize Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off of their brand new cups?" he said. "That’s why they’re just plain red. In fact, do you realize that Starbucks isn’t allowed to say Merry Christmas to customers?"

Feuerstein boasted that when he ordered his specialty coffee drink and the server asked his name, he said it was Merry Christmas, so the barista would be required to write Merry Christmas on the cup.

"So guess what Starbucks," Feuerstein said. "I tricked you into putting Merry Christmas on your cup."

We decided to investigate whether Starbucks took Christ and Christmas off its holiday cups. We asked Feuerstein and Starbucks for comment but did not hear back.

If a picture as as good as a thousand words, we thought we’d let the pictures tell the story. We searched year by year, mainly on the photo sharing site Flickr, and were unable to find any previous cups that said Christ or Christmas. Here is what we found:

2013 cup

2012 cup

2011 cup

2010 cup

Then we skipped a few years.

2006 cup

2005 cup (the reusable version, we think)

2004 cup

We found no evidence that Starbucks ever put the word Christmas on its holiday cups. All the images we found included generic winter and holiday themes.

Furthemore, the word Christmas is hardly banned at Starbucks. The caffeine purveyor’s 2015 annual blend drives home that point.

An investigative field trip to a Starbucks on L Street in Washington revealed that the coffee company also sells gift cards that say "Merry Christmas" (second row from top, right hand side).

Our ruling

Feuerstein said Starbucks took "Christ and Christmas" off their cups. Feuerstein’s prank suggested he meant the word Christmas literally.

Going back over 10 years, we could find no proof that the words Christ or Christmas have ever appeared on a Starbucks cup. If they weren’t there in the first place, you can’t say the company removed them.

We rate this claim Pants on Fire.

 

Our Sources

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Jon Greenberg

Evangelical activist focuses on lack of Christmas on new Starbucks cups

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up