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Starbucks' red cups are back for the holidays. Here's how to get a free reusable one

Tirion Morris, Arizona Republic

It's officially time to hang lights, decorate the tree and enjoy an eggnog latte: Starbucks red cups and holiday drinks are coming back. 

On Thursday, the national coffee chain will switch gears from all things pumpkin spice to focus on peppermint mochas, eggnog lattes and the decorative red cups they come inside. 

Four different designs will be available this year, featuring red, white and green patterns that look like holiday wrapping paper. The official names of the four cups are Polka Dots, Merry Dance, Merry Stripes and Candy Cane Stripes. 

This year, the cups' designs were created to "evoke mini moments of joy," according to a release from Starbucks

The website Countdowntoredcups.com has been estimating the release date all year and correctly estimated the cups would return on Thursday. 

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Get a free reusable red cup on Nov. 7

While each of the paper cups feature their own festive designs, for those who drink a lot of coffee, a reusable cup can save the day.

To encourage reuse, Starbucks is giving away free reusable red cups Thursday until supplies run out. 

The limited-edition reusable red cup features block letters spelling Merry Coffee on the signature red background. 

To get your hands on the free cup, customers must buy one of Starbucks' signature holiday drinks.

The free reusable cup is the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season.

Customers who bring in their cup and order a holiday drink after 2 p.m. daily get 50 cents off their check through Jan. 7. 

Starbucks seasonal items

This year's holiday drink flavors are Peppermint Mocha, Toasted White Chocolate Mocha, Caramel Brulée Latte, Chestnut Praline Latte and Eggnog Latte. The flavors are available hot, iced or as a blended Frappuccino. Only hot beverages come in red cups. 

Seasonal food and bakery items also return, including the Holiday Turkey & Stuffing Panini, Cranberry Bliss Bar, Sugar Plum Danish, Snowman Cookie, Gingerbread Loaf, Peppermint Brownie Cake Pop and Snowman Cake Pop. 

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More seasonal drinks

Holiday drinks and treats returned to rival Dunkin’ Wednesday.

Dunkin’s holiday drinks feature Peppermint Mocha flavored coffee, Merry Mocha Mint Signature Latte, Toasted Gingerbread Signature Latte, Frosted White Chocolate Signature Latte and the new Holiday Eggnog Signature Latte.

Dunkin’ also announced the new Holiday Brownie Crumble Donut, which is a vanilla frosted doughnut dipped in brownie crumbles and drizzled with dark green icing.

There's also an afternoon deal available at participating locations through Dec. 31. From 2 to 6 p.m., get a medium-sized Latte, Cappuccino or Americano for $2.

McDonald's also introduced its first new seasonal beverage in more than five years with the McCafé Cinnamon Cookie Latte Wednesday. The fast-food giant also is bringing back its McCafé Donut Sticks with a new chocolate dipping sauce.

Both items will be available for a limited time throughout the holidays, along with new winter-themed holiday cups, McDonald's shared with USA TODAY.

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Contributing: Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY

Follow Tirion Rose on on Twitter at @tirionmorris, on Facebook at Tirion Rose and on Instagram at tirionrose

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Starbucks' free reusable cup: How to get one for your holiday drinks