Photo: Bo Zaunders (Corbis Documentary/Getty Images)

Starbucks seems to be awfully cautious about this year’s holiday cups, which debut annually after Halloween. The company has released new holiday cup lines since 1997, and this year’s four new cups appear to wholly embrace the “season”—whatever that completely inoffensive “season” is—with a lineup of red-striped; green argyle; red-and-white sweaterish pattern; and holly-and-berries cups. Nondenominational, seasonal, neutral. We get it.

It’s quite a pendulum swing back from the plain red cups of 2015, or the festive, multicultural mural motif of last year (inspiring our all-time favorite Takeout headline from Jen Sabella: “Pry this lesbian Starbucks cup from my cold, dyke hands”). For 2018, Starbucks appears to be striving for a lukewarm medium: more festive than the sacrilegiously plain (according to some) red ones, but no hints toward multiculturalism as on last year’s cup. Argyle patterns and coffee cherries are about as non-controversial as you can get.

No matter what, though, we’re sure that somehow these cups will inspire some sort of backlash to kick off the season. It’s becoming as much an annual tradition as watching Elf every year.

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