Obviously nothing beats a frothy PSL on a crisp autumn day (bonus points if you are unabashedly wearing Uggs), but we're here to talk about an even more iconic cozy season tradition: the annual Starbucks red cup (or the Starbucks holiday cup). As anyone who grew up in the early 2000s knows, Starbucks red cups were an absolute hallmark of the holidays. Truly, there was nothing like begging your mom to drop you off at the mall so you could lurk around, brand-new red cup in hand, and hit up American Eagle Outfitters.
Red cups have been going strong since the late '90s—they launched in 1997, to be exact, when they weren't even red, but more on that later. And every year, the cup has a brand-new design...sometimes multiple! So, while we wait on the 2023 Starbucks red cup (it usually hits stores the first week of November), the time has come to find out which Starbucks red cup sparked joy the year you were born.
Before we begin, apologies to all the millennials out there, but red cups simply weren't a thing from 1981 to 1996. However, please feel free to personally identify with the holiday cup of your choice (or the cup from the year you started drinking coffee)—OR just take a cozy walk down memory lane.
I can't explain why, but it's giving me "The Inside of Monica's Apartment on Friends."
Okay, so the "red cup" wasn't always a red cup. But it didn't take long...
Suddenly feeling the urgent need to wear white knit gloves and go ice skating with Meg Ryan, John Cusack, or Tom Hanks.
A "whimsical village of coffee pots" for Y2K. Cute!
She's edgy, she's tall, she's ready to win the title of "America's Next Top Cup."
She's whimsical, she's romantic, she's ready for her placement in America's next big Christmas rom-com.
She's beauty, she's grace.
And so is she. That BOW.
Precisely why we get as many as humanly possible.
A lot of things happened in 2007: the iPhone dropped, I Can Haz Cheezburger was THE thing online, and—ah yes—this cozy cup dropped.
If someone wants to knit me this cup in sweater form, I wouldn't say no.
Not to be dramatic, but this cup is my safe space.
Can't explain how or why, but I could identify this as the 2010 cup any day.
10/10 sure I spent at least a solid month holding this cup while wearing head-to-toe J.Crew and a Blair Waldorf-core headband.
I feel like he's judging me for wearing booties and skinny jeans.
This one is perfect. In fact, PUT IT IN THE LOUVRE.
A Starbucks Starburst, if you will.
Starbucks actually started dropping multiple cup designs around this time. I personally relate to the short one.
Even the red cup leaned into the ombré trend that year.
2016 was a special and extremely extra year because not only did Starbucks release this cozy gem...
They released an entire family of cozy gems. Adorbs!!
Not not convinced Waldo isn't lurking in here somewhere.
Reminder that color blocking had a moment in 2018. And this beauty shared the spotlight with some friends...
"I'm not like the other girls" –the green cup.
2019 had multiple cups, starting with this polka-dot one featuring mini Starbucks logos. We love her.
POV: you before you've had your morning coffee.
POV: you after you've had your morning coffee.
POV: you after perhaps having one too many cups of coffee.
Again, I implore Etsy: Someone make this into a Christmas sweater IMMEDIATELY.
Not gonna lie, "carry the merry" was easier said than done in the hot mess that was 2020, but cute cup nonetheless.
This cup has evil queen in a Disney movie energy, I said what I said!
Wow at these other stripes trying to steal red's moment.
The party don't start 'til she walks in.
Wow this reminds me, need to re-watch all of the Olympic ribbon dancing stat.
This cup got the job done in more ways than one. (An advertising QUEEN.)
Hands up if you spent countless Zoom meetings doodling on the trees.
"You want me, I want you, baby / My sugarboo, I'm levitating" –me to this cup.
A cup so statuesque, Anna Kendrick could have played it in "Pitch Perfect."
This cup is best described as ~*~*~*.
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