photo: Starbucks

All the hustle and bustle and long waits in line that come along with the holiday season can take their toll on your patience, especially when you have antsy young kids in tow, but it’s important to keep in mind the spirit of the season when you start to feel yourself getting on edge. After all, you never know when you might get a special surprise courtesy of Starbucks.

Starting on December 11 and running through the end of the month, Starbucks baristas will be channeling the jolly, old elf himself as they hit the streets in green and red aprons to pass out free Starbucks gift cards to unsuspecting patrons. As part of the company’s holiday campaign called “Project Giving Good” they’ll be giving away 50,000 $20 gift cards during community events and celebrations throughout the country.

The gifts don’t end there, however. If you use the Starbucks mobile app to purchase a drink anytime during the month of December, you’ll earn gold status, which can help you earn free drinks. Starbucks Loyalty members will also be gifted with the chance to win free Starbucks for life (up to 30 years) with special game play entries every time they make a purchase with their cards or app.

What’s your favorite Starbucks holiday drink? Tell us what you’d buy with the free gift card in the comments below.