Anyhow, there does exist one haven that endeavors to share Christmas spirit all around the island. No, it is not a local church or missions organization. Instead, it is, in fact, the retail giant Starbucks. Like the Yankees, Starbucks endures a rather mixed reputation. There are those who condemn them as the evil empire who has destroyed everything that was once good and pure about the coffee drinking experience. Then there are others who are deeply loyal to the five-dollar-per-cup liquid gold coffee. Whatever you think about them in the States, we tend to cling to any pocket of American culture that we can find here in Taipei. So, Starbucks, being conveniently located right on the way to church, has nestled its way into our Sunday morning routine.
And that brings us back to the point of this blog. Something very important happened this week. It is now officially the holiday season at Starbucks. Spray-on frost now christens the windows and a scarf-laden penguin greets you at the cash register. Coffee patrons warm their hands with the scarlet cups adorned with the white snowflakes that remind us of the far off places that actually have real snow. Much to Chris' chagrin, the light jazz background music that usually welcomes us in from off the street has been replaced by real Christmas songs. Since the Taiwanese are generally indifferent to the messages that these songs convey, Elvis' "I'll have a Blue Christmas" is mixed right in with "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing". I have to say, Christian-themed Christmas music is a nice change after all the politically correct tunes aired by radio stations in the States.
Another added to bonus to this Christmas season (brought to you by Starbucks) is the holiday themed menu. Two of our favorite beverages are now available to us, complete with the snowflake embellished scarlet cup: toffee nut lattes and dark cherry mochas. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is a highly anticipated event for Americans all over the island. The day that the menu was unveiled, ex-pats from all over the city called one another spreading the good news. Chris and I were able to enjoy this special treat this morning and, I must say, it did indeed put us in a holiday mood. Since Thanksgiving is Chris' favorite holiday and he takes it a bit personally when people skip past it and rush right into Christmas, I will leave you with a happy holiday message from across the Pacific. Happy Holidays, and Starbucks cheer to all!