Mall Reverses Course to Make it Free to See Santa After Parents Rage Over $50 Charge
A mall in southern New Jersey infuriated local parents with the announcement that sitting on Santa's lap this year could cost as much as $50.
But on Monday, the Cherry Hill Mall announced they no longer plan to charge between $35 and $50 to see St. Nick.
The cost was supposed to cover a photo or a video of the little boy or girl's "Adventure to Santa," as it's been dubbed.
According to the Phildelphia Inquirer, that was marked down from a planned price of $75.
Unless they paid the fee, the plan was that no child would be allowed to see Santa, who will be tucked away inside an elaborate, windowless North Pole fortress.
Critics of the move feared that parents with little money to spare, especially around the holidays, would have to deprive their children of the mall tradition this year.
"I find it classist and it creates a divide between children during a holiday which is supposed to be about equality and giving and having everyone participate in the joy of Christmas," Sulaiha Bitar told Philly.com.
On Monday, Cherry Hill Mall management released a statement saying it would no longer require payment for children to see Santa.
"In the spirit of the holiday season, we want to keep things festive and bright. We have heard and value our loyal customers’ feedback and as a result, have decided to remove the photo package purchase requirements," the statement read.
The statement also described Adventure to Santa as follows:
"A truly unique Santa experience, Dream Works’ “Adventure to Santa” at Cherry Hill Mall is an immersive, interactive 17-20 minute attraction that takes families on a trip to the North Pole to see Santa –and is one of only 12 locations in the nation."