Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should

This 2016 Holiday ornament release is bringing back to North America some whimsy with a French Press pot, Coffee Bag, and quaint penguin, polar bear, and fox to go cups.  But amidst the charm is also a release of the Starbucks 50 states red cup ornaments which reminds us of the adage, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”.  The red cup is the iconic symbol of Starbucks’ holiday and the little red cup ornaments have been a favorite for years.  But to make a plain one with just a logo on one side and a shape of each state with their two-letter abbreviation on the other sucks the creative life out of us all.

Collage created by Greg Hilary

Collage created by Greg Hilary

I have yet to hear of any collector who is getting them because they like them.  Most are passing on them altogether or only getting their own state or perhaps some to which they have traveled.  But all I have heard from have panned them as ugly.

In addition to being ugly, its excessive.  In recent years, Starbucks has flooded us with quantities (perhaps over quality) of various products…99 cards one year, 48 the next, the huge dot collection of tumblers and more.

The holidays are expensive enough without adding huge collection purchases.  Now to be fair, I doubt Starbucks expects people to get all them and are just offering options.  And collectors are responsible for their own choices of how far they go with investing in their passion (or OCD).  But if the quantity of states also exhibited some creativity, there would be no complaints here.  (well, maybe some at the check out).

Perhaps I shouldn’t give them ideas as I don’t want another 50 next year.  But even if they remained on the boring side as white cups with the state and name, but also had each state’s flower or bird or something like that, it would be better.  At least some creativity would be expressed.

Again, many of the other ornaments are wonderful and I applaud the nod to earlier years.  Whether you get any or all, I hope your love for Starbucks ornaments continues.

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.



Starbucks Promotion Ornaments

Starbucks OrnamentsIn 2009 China Starbucks had a very special promotion that gave away 5 miniature ornaments and an acrylic tree on which to hang them.  The ornaments are plastic miniatures of full size mugs and cups.  The promotion was buy two drinks and collect one ornament.  Once you collected all five you were able to get the tree as well.  The ornaments are the Black Bone China Mug, the Red Bone China Mug, the Jungle Animals Mug, the White Old Logo Mug, and the Frappuccino Cold Cup.  To view the images of each ornament go to the Ornament Catalog page and filter the ornaments to ‘2009’ and ‘plastic’.

Other promotional gift items from previous years are the felt trees of 2006 in the USA.  The four-sided tree came with a mug and the small flat tree was included in a coffee and cookies gift pack.

2006-felt-flat-tree-ornamentStarbucks Ornaments





Starbucks OrnamentsIn Japan the set of six embroidered ornaments of 2012 were released, also, gift with drink purchase.

Another promotional in Japan was the Ink Stamp set of 2012.  Four styles were released and when your purchased them a fifth was offered.

2 Ounces Is Not Really 2 Ounces

Starbucks Ornaments

Mugs state same fluid oz size, yet appear very different

I have loved the miniature form of the early mugs ornaments.  The Architecture, City Scenes, and Skyline series are just a charming representation of the full size mugs in my estimation.  The new YAH ornaments are also nice but appear a bit larger and, to my taste, a bit clunkier.  I was sharing my thoughts on this a while back and decided to prove my point by showing that one was 2oz and the other 3oz.  I had just figured the YAH were larger.  But to my surprise they both stated 2oz.  I let it go thinking that perhaps it is was just the shape difference or the porcelain thickness that could account for this disparity.

But not being satisfied, I decided to get scientific.  😉  I brought out a measuring cup and took the contents of each mug and poured it into the cup.  Even more surprising than the stated size being the same, is that neither is actually 2oz at all.  The smaller Architecture series is around 1.5oz and the YAH is nearly 3oz.  Virtually twice the size.

Starbucks Ornaments

Mug contains nearly 3 oz

Starbucks Ornaments

Mug only contains 1.5oz








I can’t account for why the mugs are so clearly mislabeled, but let’s hope Starbucks is better at measuring our drinks.


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.