It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

All retail outlets generally go out of their way to ‘look a lot like Christmas’ during the holidays.  Starbucks has done this as well and in my opinion it has been done with a charming and beautiful feel.  Particularly in the earlier years of the 2000’s.  It still is quite wonderful and festive, but to save some money I am sure they have scaled back on specially produced items for printed signage materials more these days.

As I collect only ornaments, the various In-Store Marketing (ISM) displays have not been items I search out.  But I have over the years appreciated them greatly and even was tempted from time to time to ask if I might have some of them when the season was over.  I sadly never did, but to me, one who decorates the entire house for Christmas, the displays were often so creative and of such quality, they would have been welcome in my home.

Recently, however, I learned a few years featured ornaments as the decoration and so that entered into my collectible field of view. I discovered a display tree that is from the early 2000’s.  I know little about it and as I do more research, will update this post with details.  The tree itself is nearly 6′ tall and is really impressive.

Later in 2009 for the “Wishes” theme, Starbucks employed a “paper cut” design pattern creating numerous items in felt, paper and more.  Some had beautiful filigree designs and cost out words such as wish, joy, hope, love.   There was a wide array of product matching this theme.

The ornament tree is not included in our catalog as part of the collection, but I have included the three felt ornaments in the “Dual-Purpose” category.  They serve as ornaments AND marketing decorations.  But the decorations were just ornaments.  So the case could be made to just call them ornaments outright.  As they were not sold to the general public was the deciding factor that led to this decision.

I am not certain of the ‘official’ Starbucks policy of what is to be done with these displays after their use, but I suspect in most cases they were to be destroyed and disposed of.  I am so pleased these survived to find their way into my collection and I hope you enjoy them as well.



A Special Discovery

Realizing that Japan did in fact have variants for the To Go Cups, I began to search out to acquire the To Go Cups for as far back as I could find.  To my surprise, not 2006 Red To Go Cup Japan 2only did I find the variants, but a completely unique design that nobody, to my knowledge, in the USA knew about!

In 2006 Japan released a Red Cup and a Saucer and Tea Cup.  The Tea Cup I had been made aware of but was suspicious of its origin as it has the “Holiday 2006” in a red script font on the bottom.  No other ornament from Japan has this and this made me quite curious.  But if it was a USA release why were we not seeing it on eBay along with the “wishes” style that was released here?  With the discovery of 2006 Red To Go Cup Japanthis new Red To Cup, all is made clear.  It also has the “Holiday 2006” in red script on the bottom.  The design is sweet showing a family walking their dog and there is a star burst pattern covering the entire cup in a deeper red.

This journey to discover new ornaments has been fun and this one in particular is a special find.  I think we are near the end of finding previously unknown ornaments to the USA market, but who knows?


The Variant Years

I suspect some international standards dictate how the copyright and production information are worded.  And for that reason there are a few years where the To Go Cup ornaments are identical except for French included on the bottom for the USA/Canada ornaments.  And then for the new logo design, the TM/MC and TM differences as noted in another post.  Look over the below infographic to see the variations between the 2009-2012 USA/Canada and Japan ornaments.

Update: Since this was originally posted I discovered that 2008 was also a year with a variation. Here is a quick summary of the red cups release by year and region:

  • 2004 One version
  • 2005 One Version
  • 2006 USA and Japan have unique versions
  • 2007 USA and Japan have unique versions
  • 2008 USA and Japan have same version with bottom stamp variation
  • 2009 USA and Japan have same version with bottom stamp variation
  • 2010 USA and Japan have same version with bottom stamp variation
  • 2011  USA and Japan have same version with bottom stamp variation
  • 2012 USA and Japan have same version with bottom stamp variation
  • 2013 USA and Japan have unique versions
  • 2014 USA and Asia and Europe have unique versions
  • 2015 USA and Asia have unique versions

2009-2012 To Go Cup Comparison

YAHs by Year

Over the years Starbucks has released a number of mug styles, the most ubiquitous being the Icon and You Are Here (YAH) styles.  The latter has also been released in small doses in the 2 ounce size to ornament collector’s and mugger’s (those who collect mugs) delight.

The first set of 5 was released in 2013 featuring the cities/states of Hawaii, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle.  In 2014 a more Christmas themed version was released, called Gold YAH.  This set featured the cities/states California, Chicago, Florida, Hawaii, Los Angeles, New York, Pike Place Market, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC.  My favorite of the releases came in 2015.  It was part of the Disney Collection which, in addition to the YAH ornaments, included To Go Cups, Cold Cups, and a 60th Anniversary tall mug.  The YAH set featured the six US theme parks, Disneyland, California Adventure, Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios.

All the sets to this point were released during the Christmas shopping season.  The 2016 set, however, was released in March, and only to licensed stores such as those in airports, hotels, and turnpike rest stops.  This set includes the cities/states Alaska, Arizona, Atlanta, Boston, California, Colorado, Dallas, Florida, Houston, Illinois, Miami, Michigan, Nashville, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Texas, Virginia, and Washington DC.

Each of the individual ornaments can be seen on the ornament gallery page.  Here are pictures of the the full sets together.

2013 You Are Here Set3116 2014 You Are Here Gold Set3164 2015 Disney Series You Are Here Set2016 You Are Here Full Set


Perhaps you’ve noticed a little symbol at the bottom right hand corner of the Starbucks logo on your ornaments.  Look closely as it’s not always the same.   Sometimes it’s TM/MC, sometimes TM, and sometimes it is ®.  There is a simple answer to this, but it may cause you some collecting headaches if you’re a collector of every variation of an ornament.


2013 Red Cup showing the TM/MC and TM

First off, let’s define the symbols.  TM means Trade Mark, MC is Marque de Commerce, and ® is registered.  When a logo is designed and a company wants to own the rights, it files with the various patent offices of countries to secure the sole ownership.  Once the patent request is accepted the registered mark ® can be used, but until then the TM or MC are used.  MC is for Canada and TM for the USA and other countries.  I am by no means an expert on this, but a bit of a google brought me up to speed enough for this posting.

In 2011 Starbucks changed its logo and we began seeing the TM/MC on the ornaments.  What most of us didn’t realize was that Japan was getting the exact same ornament but the logo mark was just TM.  In all other respects the design was the same.  As of 2015 the patent must have been accepted in the US and Canada and now the new logo uses the registered mark ®.  The 2015 version from Asia still has the TM.

2015 Red To Go Cup Comparison

2015 Red Cup with the ® and TM

So for you collectors who collect variations of the same design, check to see if you have both 2011 and 2012 USA and Japan versions.  In 2011 Starbucks sold the 4-pack of ornaments with three white cups having the brown logo, the old siren and the new siren and then the red cup with the new siren.  In 2012 there was only a red cup produced.  Again, the exact same design in all other respects.  By 2013 we see truly distinct designs for both North America and Japan, so the variation of the TM is not as defining.

When We’re Together…

I Know I’ll Never Fall.  That was one of the statements on the 2012 Starbucks red cups that introduced a number of character images ice skating and gift giving.  It was a beautiful theme of holiday friendship.

2012 Embroidered SetAs is  often the case, Japan received some special ornaments to celebrate the theme.  A set of 6 embroidered ornaments.  They have white felt backsides with the Starbucks name across it, wide gold ribbon hangers, and the fronts are vibrant and stitched beautifully.  I heard that these were part of some sort of “promo”, perhaps  a gift with coffee or product purchase.  I will update this if/when I come across the actual details.

This set is very hard to find (vhtf) and I have searched for a long while.  But it is now part of my collection and I am happy to share with with you.  You can visit the gallery page to see individual images of each ornament.

It’s Officially Not Christmas

For the longest time I was insistent that I would only create the master list of ornament releases for what I considered ‘Christmas’ ornaments.  That was the case even though many ornaments were not Christmas themes such as the various mini mugs over the years.  They were, however, all released at Christmastime, so they were Christmas ornaments.

But since the release of the YAH mini mugs ornaments in MARCH which are the same style as those released in previous years for the holiday season, well…many of us are rethinking our narrow category.  It’s now just ornaments and not Christmas ornaments.

1995 Easter Egg Candy Tin SetSo that brings into the fold a well loved and likely the first ornament set ever produced by Starbucks.  The 1995 Easter Egg Candy Tin Set.  As noted on the site Coffee House Collectibles, “They were each filled with green basket grass and packaged inside was Imported Italian chocolates.”  I wish I would have seen them originally.  I bet they were very special.

They still are special today as there are 4 unique designs with intricate and ornate patterns and colors both inside and out.  Take a look at the gallery page for a detailed image of each ornament.

Ornaments in March!?!

This is surprising all of us collectors!  Mini YAH (You Are Here) mug ornaments are beginning to show up here in March with an official release on the 22nd.  It’s not clear just yet what cities and states will come out but it seems likes it’s going to be extensive.

2013 You Are Here SetBack in 2013 a set was released for the holidays.  In that collection there were 5 cities/states: Hawaii, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco.  So far it’s confirmed that the San Francisco is being released again in this round and I suspect the other 4 will as well.

I’ll keep you posted with full lists and ultimate photos as I gather them.

Happy Collecting!

UPDATE:  So now it appears there are going to be 25 ornaments in total for this March release, 3 of which are released again from the original 5.  As of 3/29/16 all have been confirmed with photographs.  What makes this release of ornaments particularly interesting and frustrating is that they have shown up only in licensed stores such as in airports and hotels.

IMG_9088The 25 ornaments are YAH Alaska, YAH Arizona, YAH Atlanta, YAH Boston, YAH California, YAH Chicago, YAH Colorado, YAH Dallas, YAH Florida, YAH Houston, YAH Illinois, YAH Miami, YAH Michigan, YAH Nashville, YAH New Jersey, YAH New York, YAH North Carolina, YAH Ohio, YAH Orlando, YAH Philadelphia, YAH San Francisco, YAH Seattle, YAH Texas, YAH Virginia, YAH Washington DC




A Fitting Display

The problem with a collection is that it needs to be displayed.  To my way of IMG_8725thinking I don’t want to invest time, energy, and frankly money, just to keep it hidden in boxes.  But collections take up space.  And then to do it in a way that, as my wife is concerned about, doesn’t begin to look like a hoarder lives there is a challenge.  Well we have two guest rooms now that our kiddo has moved on and so one is themed for “Disney” featuring some special decor and a few random souvenirs.  We don’t “collect” Disney items per se.

Our other room has been given over to my Starbucks collection of ornaments and various items.  My cards are framed in my office at work.  Enjoy the pictures.

2007 Red (and White) Cup Comparison

Yet another Red To Go Cup discovered for Japan from 2007.  The bonus was that it came in a two pack with a white cup that was oddly dated 2006. 2007 Japan To Go Cup ReleaseAnd while technically the white cup is different due to the bottom copyright info, the exterior itself is virtually the same.  The red cup is very different.  It plays on the theme of gift giving, but is expressed very different.  Below are the image of side by side comparisons.  I have decided to place and list the 2006 White ornament in the 2007 sequence since it was released in that year.

2007 Red To Go Cup Comparison

2006 White To Go Cup Comparison