There’s no denying that there’s just something magical about grabbing a gingerbread latte or a peppermint mocha from Starbucks during the holiday season. To further enhance that joyful experience, Starbucks holiday cups were introduced back in 1997, and they have evolved to capture all the magic and love that the holiday season has inspired these past 23 years.
These Starbucks holiday cups have served as an avenue to bring together coffee lovers all over the world for 20+ years. And, in 2016, the company even invited its customers to send in their own custom holiday designs to be considered for use in stores worldwide!
Since you more than likely haven’t held onto or retained the memory of every holiday cup you’ve ever purchased from Starbucks, check out this list of our absolute favorite Starbucks holiday cups that we’ve had the pleasure of sipping our favorite holiday specials in over the years!
Red and white – 2018
There were several holiday cups released in 2018, and this unique red and white candy cane pattern definitely added to the holiday latte experience that year! We especially love that the swirling colors intertwine to resemble some seriously groovy tinsel!
Embrace the warmth – 1998
The second year of Starbucks holiday cups featured a rich purple background with swirling white and indigo snowflakes—simple, yet undeniably classic. This cup marks the last year since the introduction of the holiday cup that an all-purple background was featured.
Dangling ornaments – 2009
In 2009, the caramel brulée latte was debuted alongside this classic red holiday cup that featured the indication of some evergreen branches and ornaments dangling strategically throughout the design. The words “wish,” “love,” “joy,” “light,” and “hope” make this cup a feel-good holiday favorite!
Let it snow – 2018
Another 2018 holiday cup, the “let it snow” edition was released alongside some additional holiday merch that year, including a frosty snowman glass, festive mug sets, and a Christmas tree-shaped gift card. Although simple, this holiday cup reminds us of one of our favorite Christmas songs of all time!
The snowman – 2012
This adorable snowman stole our hearts in 2012 when he made his debut on the official Starbucks holiday cups that year. Simple yet oh so cute, our little geometrical buddy here kept our holiday spirit uplifted all season long!
Wrapping paper – 2001
Designed to look like wrapping paper and adorned with old-fashioned stamps, this holiday cup accompanied the first year that Starbucks started offering gift cards and the now-classic white chocolate mocha!
Custom red cup art – 2016
In 2016, Starbucks invited its loyal customers to submit their very own custom designs. In just over a week, 1,200 custom designs had been submitted from 13 countries around the world. After inviting some of these artists to send in their cups for analysis, Starbucks chose 13 cup designs from 6 different countries to be featured on their official holiday cups that eventually made it to stores worldwide!
Pass the cheer – 2007
This classic holiday scene was featured on the 10th-anniversary holiday cup in 2007, which naturally makes it one of our favorites. The hilly red background and carefree ice skaters on this cup made us want to crawl into the scene and hop onto the ice alongside them!
Christmas carolers – 2010
In this homage to Christmas carolers, Starbucks created this modern-looking design and included a lovely feel-good statement about the joys of falling snow! This cup was also the first to drift away from a solid-colored background, instead offering a beautiful white-to-red gradient beneath the lid and inside the hilly layers of snow!
Coffeetown – 2000
Our hands-down favorite, the “coffeetown” holiday cup was featured just 3 years after the original holiday cup debuted. This unique style that resembles a kind of coffee-themed Whoville was never again featured on a Starbucks holiday cup, which is what makes it so memorable!
Custom red cup art – 2016
Starbucks customers truly showed off their creativity in 2016 by turning these simple red cups into masterpieces. Check out this list to see all the cups that were chosen to be featured in stores as well as the artists who so lovingly created them!
Holiday wreath – 2004
This simple design from 2004 is a favorite because of the adorable bow beneath the logo that turns our favorite coffee mermaid into a beautiful holiday wreath! Accented by bright white snowflakes, this Starbucks holiday cup is truly one to remember.
The OG – 1997
The first ever Starbucks holiday cup featured swirls, holly, and strategically placed coffee beans on a bright jewel-colored background. There were four original colors featured with the same groovy pattern: blue, purple, green, and fuschia. We love this original design because it’s so unique and because it serves as the start of an ongoing tradition of Starbucks holiday cups. In 1997, the seasonal drink of choice was the gingerbread latte, which has stood the test of time for 20+ years and remains a favorite today!
The white edition – 2007
Definitely our runner-up to number one, this holiday cup was the first to be designed against a white background. We love the swirling green and red ribbons, hand-drawn graphics, and festive holiday vibes that this lovingly designed cup gives off!
Best friends – 2011
This 2011 holiday cup is a favorite because it captures one of the most important themes that fuels holiday cheer: friendship. This adorable gang of animated characters sledding, singing carols, and ice skating together puts us in the perfectly playful and festive mood to gulp down those delicious seasonal lattes with our own friends!
Green and silver stars – 2018
Another favorite from 2018, this green holiday cup featured an orderly pattern of overlapping shapes adorned with silver stars. This cup is unique because it’s the first official Starbucks holiday cup to be printed on a purely green background!
Which of these Starbucks holiday cups do you remember from past years? Comment your favorites below!
Featured image source: https://stories.starbucks.com/stories/2016/starbucks-red-cups-2016/
Jamie graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She is an aspiring writer, professional editor/proofreader, and piano player. In her free time, Jamie enjoys reading classic literary works, composing music, and playing Xbox with her husband!