Thanksgiving has always been documented through pictures, which were then posted online for family and friends to see. This year, I put these photos into video and asked my family, "what are you thankful for this year?" With a year full of ups, downs and new beginnings, here is what we are thankful for:
With Thanksgiving break quickly approaching, I took a step back and thought about what I have been thankful for. A lot has happened this year with many lasts and even more firsts. While I am always thankful for the little things such as when there is chicken nuggets once a week in the dining hall or a goodnight text from a friend, here are the 4 things I am truly thankful for this year:
I want to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving spent with the family and friends they love. I am ending this blog differently than most by offering the question, what are you thankful for?
One Word to Describe HallOUween
When asked one word to describe their Halloween experience at Ohio University, here is what 100 people said:
Fun- My first year Halloween experience was definitely a fun one. Getting to experience the block party with friends is all I could have asked for.
Special- Knowing that the block part is the 3rd biggest block party in America, made me feel special to be able to go and enjoy it as an Ohio University student.
Cold- The night was definitely cold causing me to bundle up and cover my costume, but did not ruin my night.
Photo courtesy of Giphy
Starbucks cups do not define the holidays. Yearly controversy over the “red cup” that is used to serve coffee at Starbucks began in 2015 with the blank red cup and continued in 2016 with the “green cup”.
Dating back to 2015, Starbucks made the decision to use a plain, red-ombre cup as their holiday cup. This was the first year since 1997 that the cups did not have any holiday design or element appearing on their holiday cup. While some adored the simple cups, others viewed it as Starbucks initiating a war on Christmas.
When the 2015 holiday cup contained no sign of holiday cheer, Christian customers were outraged. They viewed it as Starbucks oppressing Christians’ beliefs or to appeal to non-Christian customers. I would like to note that in the past 18 years no Starbucks holiday cup specifically featured a Christmas scene but only wintery images or abstract Christmas ornaments or lights. The company never touched the real Biblical Christmas story and never put it on their cups.
The year 2016 brought a great divide to America. From Nov 1-9, Starbucks released a green cup with a single, connected line that drew out the face of over 100 people. CEO Howard Schultz said “During a divisive time in our country, Starbucks wanted to create a symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other”.
With the release of the green cup, customers were terrified that there would be no red holiday cup. Other customers were outraged viewing the cups as a political statement from the company. I did not see the faces of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump on the cup, nor was the cup made blue or red showing the company’s political views. What was suppose to show unity during the division in America during the election only brought unity through customers coming together to agree that they did not approve of the cup.
The only thing truly unifying to Starbucks customers was the revival of the red holiday cup. Starting on Nov 10, 2016 Starbucks began serving their piping hot drinks in 13 different designed red cups.
After the 2015 explosion and outrage from customers over the red cup, Starbucks knew people wanted the holiday designs back. As of now, there has been zero controversy or harm made by the new 2016 cups.
Starbucks’ Vice President of Marketing, Nancy Poznoff, offered her opinion that “The holidays don’t start until you’ve had your first red cup at Starbucks”. The holidays do not need to have a red cup in order for it to be special. The real reason for the season should be the focused, not what a company’s decision on what cup to sell coffee in.
What your coffee comes in should not change the actual product it is just the way it is delivered and has nothing to do with actual taste or quality of the drink. We are not only arguing and boycotting something as silly as a holiday cup, but we are letting it divide us. Holidays are not about cups.
Photo courtesy of Giphy
Starbucks annually releases seasonal drinks to bring a little bit of holiday cheer into the customer's’ daily cup of coffee. This year, Starbucks released these drinks the day after Halloween on Nov 1. Once inside the calm, shadowy Starbucks on Royalton Rd. in Strongsville, five out of the six total drinks were ordered after apologizing for ordering so much.
The barista offered help and gave the suggestion that the Eggnog Latte was better iced than hot. Considering the time it takes to make 5 drinks, the Starbucks’ baristas were fast as usual with the piping hot drinks out in no time. During the short wait, I found the music to be relaxing and not distracting making it the perfect spot to pick up a drink and study for midterms or finals but there was no special quirks typically found in small coffee shops that are not chains.
If one tall (small) holiday drink is purchased, the price is $4.25 with the prices only increasing as you get bigger in size. Buying one as a nice treat every once in a while will not break the bank but if it is a regular thing, it is better off to just make coffee at home and add different creamers or speciality flavor coffee beans.
When comparing the Caramel Brulée Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte, Eggnog Latte, Gingerbread Latte and the regular and skinny Peppermint Mocha there was a clear winner and an unfortunate clear loser. When reading the description of the Gingerbread Latte, “The flavor of gingerbread combined with espresso and steamed milk. Finished with a topping of whipped cream and ground nutmeg”(Starbucks) brings visions of childhood memories during the holidays. Sadly this was not the case. There was too much spice that overpowered the soft gingerbread taste. Unless the drinker loves strong spices and nutmeg this drink should be avoided.
The Caramel Brulée Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte and Eggnog Latte were okay but seemed to not bring the drinker to holiday bliss. These drinks tasted like standard Starbucks drinks that can be ordered all year but with just a “fancy” name and simply fell short of their expectations.
Not only the yearly fan favorite, the clear winner of the evening was the Peppermint Mocha. Although the Skinny Peppermint Mocha was not ordered, they are both the same drink just with different milk changing the total amount of calories while giving the same great taste. The drink tastes like the creators of Starbucks walked through Candyland’s peppermint forest and combined the flavor with mocha and coffee making this a perfect holiday beverage.
The Starbucks’ 2016 holiday drinks were underwhelming and proved to have misleading names with some drinks practically already existing under other names. High school senior, *name taken out for privacy*, agrees that “The holiday drinks at Starbucks were disappointing. Knowing the different seasonal drinks and how amazing they are I was expecting more. Overall, the drinks were just average and nothing special”.
This holiday, give the seasonal beverages a try or skip the hassle and go straight for the Peppermint Mocha or a standard coffee that is available all year long.
Atmosphere 9/10 Standard Starbucks coffee shop
Service 10/10 Speedy service and helpful baristas
Price 6/10 Not too expensive for the occasional treat
Overall rating of the holiday drinks as a whole 3/5
1. You have been listening to Christmas music since November 1st.
2. You put up your decorations before Thanksgiving.
3. You get Starbucks the day they release the red cup.
4. You practice wrapping presents.
5. You already had a holiday movie marathon.
6. You plan when to wear holiday sweaters.
7. Your holiday playlists have been perfectly arranged.
8. Your countdown has been going all year long.
9. You made blueprints for your gingerbread house.
10. Your Christmas list has been made and given to all family members.
I hope that everyone has a magical holiday filled with cheer, family and fun. Please note that the holidays are not all about the presents and decorations, but remember the real reason for the season!
(All photos courtesy of Giphy)