Winter warmers: Coffee shops unwrap Christmas cup designs

Festive favourites feature prominently in this year's range of takeaway cups.

Christmas: Which festive design is your favourite? Pret A Manger/Caffe Nero/Starbucks

As temperatures dip and city centres become filled with shoppers, the return of the much anticipated festive takeaway cups has for some marked the official start to Christmas.

Bringing festive cheer in the form of lattes with a hint of gingerbread or hot chocolates inspired by rich cherry cakes, the season of the Christmas cup is now upon us.

As shoppers grab a festive drink to refuel after pounding the pavements for gifts, coffee shops have started to unveil grander designs each November to entice weary members of the public to stop for a warming drink.

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With cafes now fully in the festive swing of things, here are some of the most popular takeaway cups you may have spotted in the streets in the countdown to Christmas.

Costa Coffee

Traditional Christmas icons adorn Costa's cups this year. Costa Coffee

Returning with cartoon-like images printed on festive cups this year, Costa Coffee has launched a range of cheerful designs with a traditional flavour.

Costa's classic burgundy cups are transformed with icons of the festive season from Santa Claus and his elf to a nutcracker and a gingerbread man.

This year, Costa has also released Christmas-themed clear plastic cups to house Frostinos, blended cold drinks being sold over the festive period for the first time.

Starbucks

Starbucks unveiled its first colour-in design in 2017. Starbucks

There was some uproar among diehard Starbucks fans this year when the company launched its first white Christmas cup rather than the traditional red.

As Starbucks explains, its famous festive cups first released in 1997 - have been a range of colours from magenta to emerald green.

While some people have been baffled by the bare outline of holding hands, swirling ribbons and gifts, the company has explained it is in fact their first colour-in holiday cup.

Encouraging customers to get creative, the concept behind the doodled design is for everyone to make their cup their own.

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It is Illustrated by Jordan Kay from Starbucks Creative Studio, who explains: "I liked the idea of hands as the centring point, a symbol of connection, love and giving joy."

Pret a Manger

A festive reindeer made of food is Pret's design of choice. Pret A Manger

This year, Pret a Manger is taking the season of giving rather literally, its charity message printed on all of its products including its festive cup.

Featuring a reindeer created from a glistening cranberry, an avocado, fresh ginger and star anise, the cup also spreads the word of the coffee company's charity the Pret Foundation Trust (PFT).

For each Christmas sandwich sold, 50p will be donated to support PFT, which includes a fleet of charity run vans that redistribute unsold food to homeless people every night, throughout the night.

Caffe Nero

Caffe Nero's cheerful cup was designed by Rose Blake. Caffe Nero

Sticking to the company's recognisable blue hue, Caffe Nero's Christmas cup features festive pops of red and accents of white.

A festive scene featuring people helping to create a large cappuccino in the centre of the design, snowflakes, fairy lights and a snowman can be spotted in the subtly festive cup.

Caffe Nero's cup has been designed by Rose Blake, the daughter of Sir Peter Blake who created the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album art for The Beatles.

Tim Hortons

The Canadian coffee chain has drawn inspiration from knitted socks. Tim Hortons

A relatively new addition to the battle of the Christmas coffee cups in the UK, Canadian brand Tim Hortons opened its first outlet in Glasgow earlier this year.

Determined to add festive flair to its range of hot drinks, the company has unveiled a knitted design in varying colours inspired by cabin socks, a Canadian staple during the cold winter months.

Tim Hortons say: "Over the years, the classic knit pattern has become a common thread throughout our holiday creative as it symbolises the warmth we hope to bring to our guests during the holiday season."

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