Teach Multiculturalism: Starbucks Red Cup Controversy

Teach Inclusivity with Trending Topics: Starbucks Red Cup Controversy

Here’s a throwback to holiday season 2015, courtesy of Starbucks’ Red Cup. Starbucks launched its holiday campaign last year with a two-toned red cup devoid of “Christmas” motifs. It sparked a lot of controversy and Starbucks was accused of “War on Christmas”.

I personally saw this matter as trivial because Toronto is known to be a multicultural city and I supported Starbucks’ step towards inclusivity.

“In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs,” said Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks’ Vice President of Design and Content. “This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”

This blank canvas, like its normal white cup, encourages doodling from many Starbucks fans.


So I was inspired to take this message of openness and creativity to my Girl Guides. To go one step further and tie this news item back to the program, I introduced five major holidays for different religions and asked the Girls to draw images from one of them. Although part of the relevance of this activity was due to the controversy itself, the creativity gained from implementing their own designs is timeless.

What you will need:

  • A description of a religious holiday
    • Name & date(s)
    • Who celebrates it
    • How it’s celebrated
  • Examples of images and motifs from that holiday
  • A metallic Sharpie
  • A Starbucks red cup, or a plain cup, and lid


  • Diwali
  • Hanukkah
  • Kwanzaa
  • Ramadan
  • Christmas

Program link:

This activity fits nicely in Discover Your Community because it encourages the exploration of various cultures in the area. You can put each set of materials inside the cup and ask the participants to pick a cup at random, so they don’t automatically go for the one they are familiar with. Or, you can have each Girl represent their own celebration and present their cups to the group.

An alternative option is Discover Your Creativity. Girls who are proud of their projects will learn that design skills can be very valuable in the marketplace.

Teach Inclusivity with Trending Topics


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