UPDATE: After hearing feedback from customers, SouthPark Mall announced Saturday it will include a traditional Christmas tree in its holiday display. In a tweet Saturday, the mall said, "We're adding key elements to the Santa set this week & listening to our customer feedback, we will now include a traditional Christmas tree."
We're adding key elements to the Santa set this week & listening to our customer feedback, we will now include a traditional Christmas tree.— SouthPark Mall (@SouthParkMallNC) November 7, 2015
The original story follows:
When children visit Santa Claus at SouthPark mall this year, they’ll be doing it under a faux glacier, rather than a Christmas tree.
The shopping center says the change will make the Santa-visiting experience “fresh and exciting,” but already on social media Friday some were complaining about the replacement of a traditional Christmas symbol.
The mall will have a tree in Symphony Park, but will not hold its popular lighting ceremony as in years’ past, a spokeswoman said.
SouthPark is among the first wave of Simon malls to get one of the glaciers. The giant white mound will feature interactive elements, including a sound and light show every 30 minutes, the mall said in a statement Friday.
SouthPark is the only Simon center in Charlotte with the new “Santa experience,” the spokeswoman said. Other Charlotte Simon properties in Charlotte include Charlotte Premium Outlets and Concord Mills.
“The reinvented and modernized experience will bring the Charlotte community together in a way that hasn’t been done before,” the mall said.
Already Friday afternoon a Change.org petition had been formed to bring back the Christmas tree at SouthPark.
Malls have been investing more to enhance the experience of shopping, especially during the critical holiday shopping season, as buying habits evolve. SouthPark said the glacier addition is intended to create a “magical experience” for families.
SouthPark is also in the middle of a massive renovation that includes upgrades to its furniture and columns inside and new signage and landscaping outside.
Staff writer Sergio Tovar contributed.