No sooner did we publish the story on Cashing in on Santa than we started receiving hundreds of emails from Christmas enthusiasts upset that a mall in North Carolina has replaced the Christmas tree as part of Santa’s set with a glacier. South Park Mall in Charlotte North Carolina says the change was to make their Santa experience “fresh and exciting”.
“It is really an effort to diminish the Christian Christmas,” writes Jay Hallstrom of Charlotte. “They took away not only the tree but also the tree lighting ceremony and literally put up fake ice. It’s cold looking, odd, weird. Nothing about it says Christmas. Next I guess they will shave Santa, make him gay and have kids take some kind of oath before they are allowed to sit on his knee.”
Others were more temperate in their comments. “What are they doing? This is just crazy, it doesn’t look like Christmas to me,” write Gennifer Knowles, 41, of Hickory. She says she signed an online petition at Change.org that was being passed around social media about the change.
The petition currently has more than 2500 supporters and states “We, the community of Charlotte, feel this is in poor taste and needs to be corrected. As the Christmas shopping season begins, we feel Simons mall surely doesn’t want to loose customers over changing a long standing tradition. We urge Southpark and Simons mall to bring back our tradition.”
My Merry Christmas does not usually delve into the War on Christmas but some cannot help seeing the changes as an extension of other attacks on Christmas.
“This is a corporate driven, revenue-generating anti-Christmas promotion that nobody asked for,” write Jeremy Sands of Asheville. “They didn’t just bring in something new they deliberately did it to remove a traditional symbol of Christmas and the events surrounding it. It is just another move to water down the presence of Christmas and make something like Santa an unrecognizable part of it. This is the Santa Clause III.”
The mall, owned by Simon properties, is one of several installing “The Santa Experience”. It claims “The reinvented and modernized experience will bring the Charlotte community together in a way that hasn’t been done before.”
Local media has picked up on the story as well and notes the less-than-enthusiastic reception the new display is getting.
We have not seen detailed photos of the display but we are surprised that more people are not commenting on the cost for mall patrons to access Santa Claus or “The Santa Experience”. Most tend to express outrage at the loss of the Christmas tree.