Starbucks Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Its Iconic Red Holiday Cups

The coffee giant's first take on the holiday cup wasn't actually red.

Starbucks's iconic red cup has taken on many iterations over the years, and the holiday season just wouldn't quite feel complete without it. This year, the company is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its red caffeine carriers, but did you know that the first iteration of this holiday classic wasn't red at all?

Back in 1997, when Starbucks first set its holiday cup series into motion, the beverage containers were actually shades of magenta, sapphire, emerald, and purple. The original cup design featured a swirly linoleum block-style pattern and hand-drawn holly leaves accented with coffee beans.

It wasn't until 1999 (shoutout to Prince) that the company launched its candy-apple red design for the first time. The red cups became extremely popular on social media in the following years and eventually became a national signifier for each upcoming holiday season.

Courtesy of Starbucks

"Looking back at all the years of holiday cups, you can see the commitment to design and artistry and all things handcrafted," Gary Jacobson, Starbucks holiday campaign creative director, said in a statement. "I think that's why they have become part of a lot of people's holiday traditions. They invite people in because each new design captures a moment in time with its own unique take on the holidays."

This year, Starbucks is introducing four new designs for the holidays in red and green. Quite the shock, I know. What would Taylor Swift think? Regardless, these cups are gorgeous, and we're pretty sure nothing will stand between caffeine-loving holiday shoppers and their peppermint mochas.

Check out the complete evolution of the red cup's iconic design here.

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Jeremy Porr is a News Writer at Thrillist. Follow Jeremy on Instagram.