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What is an Appropriate Emotional Response? The Red Cup

The Red Cup
The Red Cup


“Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.” 
― Elizabeth Gilbert

Just a few days ago the world was in an uproar over a red cup. Starbucks had decided to pull their holly jolly winter decorations from their festive seasonal cups. “In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs,” Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks vice president of Design & Content, said in a statement. “This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”

To me that sounds wonderful and I would think this would be welcomed with a reasonable emotional response. But oh no, that was not the case at all for some people.

Social media was a firestorm of, “Boycott Starbucks! They are ruining Christmas.” I’m looking at you, Donald Trump. Does that seem like a reasonable emotional response to you? Because a corporation chose to take some snowflakes and reindeer off of the disposable cups that half of the time end up in our overflowing landfills, we should boycott them? Is that what Christmas is? Is Christmas, or any other festive holiday defined by what is printed on a disposable beverage container?

Is an acceptable emotional response over a cup to become all inclusive of one religion, one faith, and one belief system? I was unaware that certain holy books featured these glorious designs. What is an acceptable emotional response? Is an acceptable emotional response to alienate others and their beliefs and faiths over a red cup? And when did one particular faith stake claim to the winter designs? Does this not all seem ridiculous, and especially now?

The world has been brought to its knees over the past few years by war and tragedy, yet our biggest concerns are to make YouTube videos about a red cup and The War on Christmas and in doing so, we are spreading ignorance and hate. We are using these platforms to bash other faiths and other humans and people who don’t believe the same things that we do, and it gives me a very acceptable emotional response; discouragement.

There is so much in this world to be concerned with; a cup is the least of your worries. There is no war on Christmas. There is room in this vast world of ours for everyone to celebrate whatever they choose, and if you believe that an acceptable emotional response to a cup is to fly off the handle and spread hate about your neighbor who believes in something different than you, then just maybe it’s time to take a good long look in the mirror and re-evaluate exactly what it is that your faith teaches you.

If you really need to get fired up about something, I suggest volunteering at your local homeless shelter or food bank. Organize a coats-for-kids program. Use that passion for something positive, something that matters and makes a difference in someone else’s life.  It’ll make you feel so much better, and maybe just maybe, it’ll help you get back to the real meaning of your own faith.

Blowing smoke and being outraged over something so entirely ridiculous is not getting anyone anywhere, and it is definitely not an acceptable emotional response. I don’t have to be a mental health expert to tell you that.

What is an Appropriate Emotional Response? The Red Cup

Nicole Lyons

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APA Reference
Lyons, N. (2015). What is an Appropriate Emotional Response? The Red Cup. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 15 Nov 2015
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