Starbucks Rolls Out Christmas Cups, Christmas Blends, And Christmas Music – Seven Weeks Before Christmas

Corporate America has a new ally in the war to spread unseasonable holiday cheer. Thanksgiving may be two weeks away, but according to one sharp-eyed reader, that isn’t stopping the coffee behemoth Starbucks from bludgeoning consumers with Christmas.

Just last year, the Seattle Times wrote: “Something [consumers] don’t want — and which Starbucks will hold until after Thanksgiving — are the holiday tunes.”

Well guess what, you can’t celebrate Christmas in November without Christmas songs, so along with its sense of time and decency, Starbucks is chucking the pre-Thanksgiving ban on annoying holiday music. From Cajun Boy:

When I entered the store, I immediately noticed a change in the environment that both stunned and slightly horrified me. Everywhere I looked, it was Christmas. Christmas songs were playing on the store soundtrack. I immediately glanced down at my watch to confirm that yes, it was indeed November 8th and still something like 7 weeks until fucking Christmas.

Please, don’t tell Louis Black or his head will explode.

holy s*#t it’s christmas!!! [Cajun Boy in the City]

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  1. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    And this surprises who?
    At Lowe’s last weekend (Nov. 4!) it was more important to be putting out Christmas stuff than to open checkout lanes for customers.
    Maybe next year we can start with the Christmas stuff right after Labor Day and avoid any rush at all.

  2. taney71 says:

    This kind of crap gets me out the the mood to buy and do anything with Christmas.

  3. dmolavi says:

    i saw christmas stuff in lowes at the end of september/early october, weeks before halloween. and i’m not talking one or two items, i’m talking their full-on selection of christmas crap (yard ornaments, trees, lights, all that shit).

    corporate america focuses on the holidays that earn them a buck. pretty soon it’ll go from July 4th to Christmas (after all, with all the halloween themed candies, god forbid you sell them the day after halloween, they won’t taste right, or will explode in your mouth). but something like christmas can be milked for MONTHS…

  4. ExtraCelestial says:

    ive tried to hate starbucks, i really have. i tried drinking caribou, panera, 7-11, gas stations, cafes, numerous other non chain places. coffee i can just about go anywhere (its hard to screw up coffee unless its old) , but an espresso drink i just cant stay away. their drinks by far are the most consistently made and theyre one of the few places that stress the importance of immediately adding the espresso to the drink to avoid that nasty burnt taste. yes i have an espresso machine at home (an amazing investment) but sometimes u just need that mid day pick me up. also part of drinking coffee/espresso is taking in the atmosphere, something u cant take advantage of drinking from a plastic cup and going 75mph. i know this has nothing whatsoever to do with the post but starbucks gets so much slack that i had to point out something good. they use triple filtered water for goodness sake! and no i dont work for starbucks.

  5. dmolavi says:

    celested-
    you’re just the type of person starfucks markets to.

    wawa coffee FTW.

  6. Starbucks’ brand is all about consistency. Whether you walk into a Sbux in Vancouver BC or NYC or Auckland New Zealand, you will recognize it as a Starbucks, it will have a similar layout, the decor will be the same, the coffee offerings will be consistent. Even their offices near the Seattle harbour have these colours.

    As for Christmas cheer – eggnog lattes were available in late October iirc. I don’t shop the stores for Xmas (I am creating a book of photographs for friends and family, which is another story altogether) but the displays and especially the *music* in any store at this time of year are absolute irritants.

  7. taney71 says:

    I have been hearing about the consistency claim with Starbucks alot lately and I don’t see it. It is true each store has high quality machines to make coffee drinks in and I will not debate the issue of their product (coffee beans) being top notch.

    HOWEVER, I have noticed lately that the quality of the coffee makers has been increasing inconsistent. Either too sweet or not sweet enough on the same drink. Sometimes its an issue of milk. Whatever it is milk, sugar, or whatever I have noticed that consistency is a problem.

    Now some might say I order fancy drinks. I do NOT customize my drinks. I order what is written on the menu and nothing extra or special is added.

    Some of this could be the fact that I do not go to the same Starbucks all the time. I tend to get coffee from Starbucks in a lot of different areas and cities (New York, DC, Las Vegas, etc.). Maybe normal Starbucks drinkers only shop at one or two stores? I dont’ know.

    Whatever it is there is a consistency problem has increased in the past few years that people seem to ignore or fail to see as a problem with Starbucks coffee.

  8. V-effekt says:

    The same is true in Germany. The Christmas blend came out 1 or two weeks ago and all the cups are Xmas like. It is not just America. In Germany, Christmas cookies were available 3 weeks ago. The first day of advent is Dec 1, so they really get everyone going for that day. Xmas is Dec 24, but the celebrations last the entire month. Xmas day is the end, not the only day they celebrate.

  9. tedyc03 says:

    Starbucks starting Christmas already surprises anyone? When I worked there (I was young and stupid) we had our holiday meeting on election night (and being a political science major my boss wondered why I refused to attend). A week later we put out the Christmas stuff. This is normal for them (albiet a bit early this year).

  10. DrGirlfriend says:

    @taney71: I agree. I try to bring my own coffee to work every day, but when I can’t, my nearest coffee place is a Starbucks. It used to be consistent, and ever since perhaps this last summer I started to notice that every time I went, my plain old latte tasted way different from the last. The only constant was that the change in taste was never for the better.

    In September I was out shopping and saw a small Christmas display with a sign that read “Start your Christmas shoping early!” I wish I’d had my camera, that might have made a nice Consumerist Flockr pool picture.

  11. ExtraCelestial says:

    @dmolavi:

    i know :o( im not proud of this fact. I live in southern maryland though and there isn’t a wawa anywhere near me. ive been to a few in nj and im not knocking the coffee it was pretty good, 7-11 is also pretty good, but theres nothing that touches a starbucks made toffee nut latte (even after they discontinued the sprinkles).

    @taney71:

    i have three drinks in my repertoire, one of them a custom. I leave the custom one for shops and baristas im familiar with. I frequent starbucks all over md, dc, and va and besides the occasional newbie theyre rather consistent. barnes and nobles starbucks however are a whole different ballgame. every single one ive been to the “baristas” (even the supposed seasoned veterans) ass rape the ingredients.

  12. ExtraCelestial says:

    @CelesteD:

    i even ordered a caramel macchiato in a mexico city starbucks that was just as tasty as always!

  13. swalve says:

    Who cares? It doesn’t cost the consumer anything if they want to put their red and gold up “early”. Although it’s not really early, is it? It’s friggin November!

  14. DrGirlfriend says:

    And to add, I don’t mind Christmas displays in November.

    But I’m one of those people who likes Christmas, even though I know the cool thing to do is roll your eyes at it in a jaded fashion. ;)

  15. mopar_man says:

    @taney71:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one.

  16. ErinYay says:

    @drgirlfriend:

    Me too. I’m sorry if getting excited that they have “official” peppermint mochas makes me a big sack of consumery-lameo. I like Christmas (though, as an atheist, I just like the pagentry and presents and lights and music and… yes. I’m a Hallmark card for November/December.) and I like Starbucks.

  17. Bodgy says:

    Isn’t Starbucks behind everyone else in rolling out Christmas? Walgreens put out holiday items in JULY. Maybe Arby’s is the lone holdout with their holiday goblets…

  18. fcb1899 says:

    what the hell does this has to do with video games anyway?

  19. embean says:

    I work for Starbucks, and Xmas was launched November 8. This being drinks, merchandise, decor, etc. BUT as far as I know, there is no Xmas music yet. There isn’t any in my store, and the music is a corporately controlled thing so I would question there being xmas music anywhere. I work in Canada, where because Thanksgiving is long over, Christmas basically stars EVERYWHERE the day after halloween. Halloween is packed up, and xmas is unloaded overnight. Nothing unusual here. Also, no customers have made any “OH it’s Christmas ALREADY?!” comments, so I guess no one thinks it’s too odd.

  20. mamacat49 says:

    One of our local radio stations has started playing Christmas music exclusively already. I hate that.

  21. lizzybee says:

    The displays, ok, tolerable. The cups, ok, tolerable. But the music? The horrible, same crap music that every single store will be playing nonstop in under a week? **shudder**

    And Starbucks’ Christmas Blend is utterly vile– a lighter version of their petroleum laden Yukon Blend.

  22. dmolavi says:

    @CelesteD:

    i wasn’t trying to be beligerant, my apologies if it came across that way…but, starbucks (and every other major retailer) is about image and advertising. unless i see the ‘triple filtration’ system with my own eyes, it’s tap water, as far as i’m concerned (dasani, anybody?)

    the only thing i get from them is their eggnog latte. why? because neither 7-11, wawa, or dunkin donuts has one, and i LOVE eggnog. even still, i probably only get 2 or 3 the entire season. starbucks just isn’t my cup o’ tea (or coffee) :)

  23. BigNutty says:

    Starbucks is no different than any other company that wants to get a jump on the holiday sales band wagon. Just part of life in the retail business.

  24. Mary says:

    I’ve been to Starbucks a few times in the last few days, and haven’t heard any Christmas music. I did see the employees setting up the Christmas decor on Wednesday, though. And count me in as another lameo who actually gets excited about the winter red cups and Christmas drinks.

  25. KJones says:

    I went in for coffee at Starbucks today…UGH! Fucking crustmash songs! If I wanted fairy tales, I’d read Grimm’s stories, not grim stories in the book o’ blood.

    Another Starbucks nag, if I may…I have been going into the same place 3-4 times per week for months. *Every* *single* *day* I get the same drink, hot “cafe americano”; the only difference is when I say “Tall” or “Grande”. And yet, *every* *single* *day* the same idiots who have worked there all these months, who know my face and say “cafe americano” when I walk in, they STILL ask me “Do you want cold coffee?”

    If they do this the first time I go into a Starbucks, or even the tenth, I’ll be patient, but after about 100 visits to the same place and ordering the same thing every time, one would expect these same idiots to learn, but *nooooooo*, they don’t. The only reason I don’t go elsewhere is because it’s 100 metres from work (except for cheap crap fobbed of as “coffee” in other nearby places).

  26. Dustbunny says:

    @HappyPuppy:

    Me three. Eggnog and gingerbread lattes FTW!

  27. juri squared says:

    Caribou has Christmas cups out, too. My brother brought a snowflake-festooned cup home yesterday.

    I don’t mind, either. Yay Christmas!

  28. indydrew says:

    Lets all bitch about when a stanger, or in this case a store puts out Christmas decorations. Why does it matter to you when a stranger, or a store you dont have to go in does this? If you dont like it, dont go in. With all the war, death , poor, hungry, aids, cancer etc… etc…. in the world this is what makes some upset the most. Get over it. On a personal note I spend a ton on Christmas decorations for my store. I’ll be dammed if I only get 30 days use out of them. Plus all the time spent putting up all the stuff. It USED to be a rule no Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. This is when everyone used real trees, real garland, etc. Now everything is fake, hell leave it up year round.

  29. Bodgy says:

    @KJones:

    It must be that particular Starbucks. The one I frequent always knows what we order and they know us.

  30. Eibmoz says:

    I work for Starbucks, and I have to say that on 11/8 all i heard was about Thanksgiving, what happened to Thanksgiving? Retail, unless its grocery, does not have anything to sell at Thanksgiving. And we are not required to play the songs yet, my store does not have them, i would go postal if they did

  31. Mojosan says:

    Wow, I came in here expecting the standard “StarBux is TeH SuXor!!!” thread and I’m happy to see it’s not.

    I enjoy Starbucks, I really don;t care thwt they are displaying their Christmas decorations during the 2nd week of November.

    I enjoy the Chritmas season and will gladly take 6 weeks of it.

  32. synergy says:

    I’ve been hearing Christmas music at a couple of places the last week or two. The Christmas decorations are up at the local chain grocery store and a couple of small businesses in my neighborhood. This is utter bullshit. Forget giving thanks for another year or that you’re still alive. Bring on the season where I might GET a bunch of stuff I don’t need!!!

  33. bohemian says:

    They were unpacking all the christmas stuff Wednesday when I stopped in for a coffee at the Starbucks by my house.
    I find the christmas creep annoying. I barely tolerate the whole thing anyway so making it drag on longer just tries my patience. But what I really find far more annoying than the decor is the music. I can tune out the gift displays and the excess store decorations but the music is always this horrible grating noise.

  34. synergy says:

    After reading the other comments, I have to say that I like Christmas, I do. But I also like Thanksgiving because I think it has just as good of an intent (mentioned above) which is being steamrolled by the Christmas consumption train.

  35. Amelie says:

    I was in a Starbucks last week and both the Christmas blend and the gingerbread were delicious. As for Starbuck’s coffee, the quality is totally dependent on the individual store. While the coffee’s been good more often than not, I’ve had my share of old, bitter coffee.

    Given the choice though, I always chose a local, independently- owned coffe shop

    @V-effekt: I could really go for some Glühwein right now.

  36. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    I will make my Peet’s coffee at home, even though I have to have it shipped across the country, it’s still cheaper than whorebucks ‘coffee.’
    Actually the Mobil stations down here in sunny FLA have Bengal Traders coffee which clearly helps to demonstrate the lack of quality at whorebucks.

    And we’re not bemoaning or putting down Christmas, it’s the fucking merchandising whores who are taking an earlier and earlier advantage of it every year. The more pious folks should be even more pissed than the rest of us.

    I’m off to get out the aluminum pole.

  37. cabinaero says:

    Starbucks consistency: Starbucks sends US employees to foreign countries to train-up new and existing stores. I’m not talking one week in, say, London or Mexico City — when in the Philippines, I met a US-based Starbucks employee who was there for *3* months.

    As for early Christmas, the week before Halloween I saw some idiot with two Christmas trees strapped to the roof of his suv. I mean, really — those trees are going to be up for well over two months. Talk about kindling.

  38. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    Another hate post by Consumerist editors…. Yeah its early, but “bludgeoning” and “annoying” holiday music. Lighten up and enjoy life a little. Lately its like the high school goth circle on this site.

  39. STrRedWolf says:

    One more entry for the Christmas Creep: Leo Laporte and Dick Debartolo who produce TWiT’s Daily Giz Wiz podcast ([twit.tv]) started their holiday letters jingle this week.

  40. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @indydrew: Ah, yes. In a world of poverty, death, crime, and illness, how dare I feel minor annoyance at something that’s minorly annoying? Heavens, I might as well be on the side of the terrorists.

  41. yg17 says:

    And so begins the time of the year where I wish I could just sleep and wake up sometime in the middle of January once all this shit is over.

  42. Topcat says:

    Tim Hortons has also unleashed its Christmas arsenal, Future Shop is advertising “last-minute Christmas gifts” and I can buy a 5-piece lighted doe set for my lawn at any hardware store in the city.

    Really, who cares? I really don’t mind being bombarded with Christmas stuff in early November, so long as I can avoid the terrible music up to about the second week of December.

  43. ShariC says:

    I’m with the other posters who believe this is a pretty small thing to get worked up about. If you don’t like the music, mention it politely to the cashier when you check out as an aside or just don’t go in at all.

    Some people like Christmas and prefer to enjoy the atmosphere of it as long as possible. While it is highly commercialized, you can choose to support that with your consumerist tendencies or you can choose to go out and do something more in line with the way you feel the holiday ought to be celebrated. No one is forcing anyone to endure anything. Speak with your wallet and don’t buy Christmas-themed goods if it troubles you.

  44. Buran says:

    @doctor_cos: Cute fake corporate names sure add a lot to what you have to say.

  45. taney71 says:

    @cabinaero: They need to send these people to some stores in the DC area then. Seriously there are a few Starbucks workers that could learn how to properly make some of the more basic drinks the company offers.

    Oh, BIG Tim Horton’s fan! I lived in OH for a year and got hooked on the donuts.

  46. superbureaucrat says:

    I really cant complain. Now, I can get the seasonal drinks with more ease. Yay.

  47. Teapotfox says:

    Blockbuster corporate stores will all be reset for the holidays on Tuesday, as well.

  48. brandymb says:

    At least some store is not afraid to say the forbidden word: “CHRISTMAS”. God forbid it should offend some one! I’m wasted tired of people and places with their happy holidays crap….

  49. lavalint says:

    *raises hand*

    Another SBux employee here. I work in Canada and yeah we have our Christmas stuff out. I don’t think it’s too early. It’s November and I think that’s the right time. No Christmas music yet. Thank goodness. Yay Starbucks!

  50. drjayphd says:

    @Buran: See also @dmolavi, et al. It’s a proud tradition of trying to come up with the least witty takeoff of the Starbucks name. Although ya know what someone needs to do on this site? If they complain about Best Buy, refer to it as Worst Buy! No one’s ever thought of THAT before, right?

    …see, what I did there, was…

  51. thepounder says:

    @taney71: That’s deeply disturbing that you’d blame Christmas itself for something silly Starbucks has done. If you only like your Christmas music on Christmas day then stop patronizing Starbucks till the New Year. Let them pay for it by not getting your cash.
    -

    The person in the original post who was “horrified” upon walking into a Starbucks should have just left. It’s ridiculous to buy something at a store which has “horrified” you. Also on the List of Ridiculous is that this person put “fucking” right next to “Christmas.” Wow.

    Stores and corporations simply take advantage of Christmas and quietly rape it of its dignity so they can make a buck.
    Just wait till Starbucks starts celebrating Christmahannukwanzakuh, you’ll never escape the holiday music. Maybe they can play the Dreidel song over and over. That’s sure to make people happy, right?

  52. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @Buran: Thank you, at least my sarcasm is not totally wasted here. Now I must be off to Tar-zhay to purchase more Christmas decorations :)

  53. ogman says:

    I used to love Christmas, but I just don’t give a crap any more. Instead of Christmas carols, I turn on the radio and hear some whiny billionaire ass griping because the holiday retail numbers might not meet expectations. Screw Christmas and the rich jerkoffs who have turned it into just one more money grubbing scheme.Bah Humbug!

  54. ogman says:

    @Mojosan: “I enjoy the Chritmas season and will gladly take 6 weeks of it.”

    Me, too. It’s 16 weeks that pisses me off!

  55. RefinedbyFire says:

    I find it impossible to take anyone seriously who goes on a rant about Starbucks while calling it “starfucks” or “whorebucks.” If you have a problem with the company, state it, and stop being so juvenile. Just because this is the internet doesn’t mean you’re required to argue like a child.

  56. DePaulBlueDemon says:

    Starbucks ALWAYS rolls out the holiday decor/beverage lineup in early November.

    Two weeks ago I went to McDonald’s and they were playing Christmas carols, I saw Target setting up Christmas trees, etc.

    Basically, this is the norm.

  57. sibertater says:

    I’m a SBUX employee, it may seem annoying, but it’s really not. It’s just some displays and stuff…the music doesn’t start until after Thanksgiving, or that would get on my nerves.

    I have my shopping completed, I don’t get why people are so bitchy about the holiday season, start early, finish early. So few people do this.

    I get sick of hearing about how Christmas starts earlier every year, when I used to work for Kirkland’s, we started getting Christmas stuff in June. That’s asinine. I think that November is pretty much fair game, before Halloween is not. Why isn’t there a post about Target having Christmas Trees out beside the Halloween decor?

    There is so much wrong everywhere else, why can’t we enjoy Christmas for 2 or 3 months, without the bitching?

  58. Musician78 says:

    I’m not cheerful at Christmas time. Not even a little.

  59. Dick.Blake says:

    Pffft. Starbucks. My girlfriend loves to get something from there… last time she asked me to go get it for her I had to ask her to write it down. White chocolate, peppermint, mocha frappachino. I thought it was coffee but what I received looked like a friggin sundae. I have coworkers who daydream about going to Starbucks.

    I like a hot cup of coffee, but the best part of waking up is Folgers in my cup.

    PS – Tim Horton’s and their donuts…. you guys can set up shop in Georgia any time y’all feel like it.

  60. sciencegeek says:

    I live in Philadelphia and some day last week I walked into our main train station, 30th Street Station, and was amused to see a whole bunch of Starbucks employees dressed as elves handing out free coffee and treats. I was less amused to walk into the commuter rail part of the station and find carolers singing what I think were modified Christmas carols (presumably with a Starbucks theme). The best part was the amazing number of Philly residents swearing at them – we’re an outspoken city. The main comment theme of passersby was the fact that it was before Thanksgiving and that they didn’t want to hear Christmas music.

    I agree.

    On a related note, as someone who isn’t Christian, I find the Christmas music and advertising overwhelming at times. It makes me feel like I don’t belong. Do I think that my minority opinion should be catered to? No, but sometimes I wish I had a mute button. Especially early in November.

  61. UpsetPanda says:

    @sciencegeek: I don’t find Christmas music overly religious in nature. I am a Christian, and I hate the repetition in holiday music, but the music itself for the most part doesn’t bother me, as long as I only hear it during the holiday season, which for me, starts after Thanksgiving and ends the day after New Years.

  62. therealhomerjaysimpson says:

    I love Christmas, but really…what happened to Thanksgiving? (Or for that matter, Halloween?) Why the need to rush and extend the season? A month seems like enough time to make it special without the overkill and “is it over yet” feelings this Christms creep inspires.

    I refuse to listen to all-Christmas radio, and, not that I go to Starbucks often as there are none near me, will try to avoid stores that over-do the early ho-ho-ho.

  63. spangled_pandemonium says:

    NEWS FROM THE STREETS:

    I saw a W subway car in NYC plastered with S-buck’s “On With the Tradition” gingerbread latte posters this past AUGUST THE THIRD. I am absolutely positive this was not a hallucination. But was it a mistake? A diabolical mind game? Or, just another sign of the impending SHOPOCALYPSE?

  64. hamlet says:

    Yaayyyy! I love Starbucks and I love Christmas. I’m really in the spirit now for decorating/parties/shopping. Some people need to lighten up and just enjoy!

  65. arby says:

    @sciencegeek: Thank you. I live in New York and do not celebrate Christmas, and it gets really, really old really, really fast. If I were in charge, I’d make the month of November all about Thanksgiving (a holiday that anyone who lives in the United States should be able to celebrate) and ban Christmas merchandising until December.

  66. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    I got a cup from Sbucks last Friday with the Xmas decor on it, and my reaction was “Mmmmmrurughhh”, because it was my first cup of the day. It’s just a caffeine delivery system to me.

  67. p01ar says:

    I went into Starbucks like 3 weeks ago and they were already using the Xmas cups. I’m pretty sure it was even before Halloween.

  68. the_mdg says:

    That’s funny. In Grand Rapids MI there is a radio station that a lot of businesses play that started playing Christmas music Nov 1! It’s not just an occasional song here or there. It’s 24/7. New songs, old songs, it doesn’t matter. On the morning show they actually had people call in the last day of October to say if they should or not. Most did not. Surprise!