Christmas cup controversy – our breakdown of the holiday art
Eating & Drinking

Christmas cup controversy – our breakdown of the holiday art

It’s too Christmas-y.  Not Christmas-y enough. Never have we heard so many complaints about the release of the seasonal coffee cups (which you can read more about here).  We are obviously a people that takes the holidays to heart. Ridiculous, when the cup’s sole purpose is to bring  joy to the beverage drinker (and increase the sales of said beverages).

Leaving all the hum-bug behind, we’re more interested in how much we actually like the cup art. We asked Zarina Mail, who has a Masters in Art History and is the co-curator at Wall Space Art Gallery in Westboro, to give us her opinion on the Christmas cups.

#GetFestivewithSC. Created by Canadian illustrator Darren Booth using paint and collage. Photo by Micheal Nemr
Second Cup: #GetFestivewithSC. Created by Canadian illustrator Darren Booth using paint and collage. Photo by Micheal Nemr

“This version reminds me of ubiquitous poster art that is not ground-breaking in the least, but safe enough to distribute to the masses. It’s the type of thing I’ve seen in relatives’ homes because ‘It was on sale at the mall and it matched my Christmas ornaments!’ Nothing clever or memorable about it, but it’s enough to satisfy a large group of generally indifferent and unknowing people.”


Starbucks: #StarbucksRedCup. Starbucks red and not much else, Starbucks is encouraging patrons to use the cups as their canvas to create what they want. All the same style despite size. Photo by Nicolina Leone

“The Starkbucks cup just seems like smart branding. Take a green logo and put it against its complimentary colour, and voila. You have an image that immediately pops and dances with your receptors. And the fact that red and green are universally recognized as Christmas colours? Double bonus. The minimalist approach just makes sense. I mean, aside from the fact that we live in a contemporary age that favours bold and clean graphics, this cup could actually be timeless. And those who miss seeing Christmas trees and snowmen on their cups could just as easily pick up a gold sharpie.”


Tim Hortons: #WarmWishes. Doing something similar to last year. Different colours for different sizes. Photo by Nicolina Leone

“As for the Tim Hortons cup – in the art world, a historian would call this cup an example of Mimesis; you just want to wrap your hands around the cup because it looks so much like real warm and fuzzy wool. I personally think it’s cute, but then I’m a fastidious knitter and am always pushing for the craft-equals-art debate. And really, who doesn’t like a good ugly holiday sweater (if not for memories of grandmothers, or the parties that go with them in adulthood)?”


McDonald's keeping it simple. Photo by Teresa Leone
McDonald’s: keeping it simple. Photo by Teresa Leone

“The McDonald’s cup is unrealistic artistically. They should have made the snowflakes all different! Everyone knows no two are the same. I definitely appreciate the subtle approach (not really needing any large and loud graphics to remind me that it’s winter and cold) but it seems likely to make many others mumble and grumble, as it doesn’t scream anything exciting or interesting.”