Holidays, especially Christmas, are often about giving and being selfless . . . right? A mall in New Jersey has been called out by parents for being anything but altruistic after it announced a $35 charge for kids who want to see Santa. According to Cherry Hill Mall's "Adventure to Santa" holiday display, visitors must choose to buy a photo or video package (ranging from $35 to $50) before sitting on Santa's lap. In previous years, a chance to meet Santa was free.
Parents were quickly outraged over the new plan and took to social media to vent their frustrations. One user wrote on Facebook, "Disgusting! You are effectively telling less fortunate children that Santa doesn't want to see them unless their parents can pay." And the mall's own Facebook page was flooded with commenters who called out its Scrooge-like policy.
"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," Facebook user Sulaiha Bitar said.
For families who don't mind spending the money, however, they will be greeted with a display featuring characters from Shrek movies and kids will receive a range of experiences in addition to seeing Santa, including a simulated sleigh ride to the North Pole and iPads for designing gingerbread houses.