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Malls roll out holiday experiences

November 27, 2017

Mall owners are putting on a display for the holiday season, using innovative promotions and events to create an experience for consumers and to boost sales for tenants.

A holiday setup at PREIT’s Cherry Hill (N.J.) Mall caters to fans of the classic holiday film A Christmas Story, allowing them to travel back to 1983 through the eyes of Ralphie Parker, one of the film’s characters. Visitors can explore the Parker family kitchen, take a family photo in front of the iconic “leg lamp” in the Parker’s living room and slide down Santa Mountain. Turner Entertainment owns the rights to the film and its characters.

PREIT is enabling customers at all its malls to simplify their Santa experience with a Santa Photo Fast Pass — shortening the wait time by allowing them to reserve a spot in line in advance.

Macerich is once again teaming up with home-improvement channel HGTV to operate Santa HQ experiences at 15 of its malls in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Oregon, and in Washington, D.C. The two companies have been collaborating on Santa HQ since 2014. Guests can take a photo with Santa Claus inside his modernized sleigh, star in their own holiday video, explore Santa’s Observatory and find out how they rank on the Naughty-or-Nice-O-Meter. Visitors are encouraged to download the Elf-Ray Vision app or use a provided tablet to discover the enchanting world of Santa HQ in 2-D and 3-D digital scenes.

“This holiday season, Macerich properties are set to unwrap great experiences for shoppers,” said Petra Maruca, the firm’s vice president of business development. “This one-of-a-kind interactive attraction, created in partnership with HGTV, has become a well-loved tradition at top Macerich centers across the country.”

Taubman Centers is continuing its popular Santa’s Flight Academy at 12 of its malls. A technological re-creation of the North Pole enables children to join Santa’s flight crew before meeting him in person.

“With Santa’s Flight Academy, we continue the cherished tradition of meeting Santa but modernize it for each child, with special, personalized experiences that happen throughout the visit,” said Taubman COO William S. Taubman. “This special adventure can only be found in select Taubman shopping centers.”

Meanwhile, Simon is holding Pet Photo Night at its Simon Santa Photo Experiences, which are sponsored nationally by specialty apparel chain Gymboree and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, and locally by a series of retailers. “Many pet owners view their pet as an integral member of the family and are just as committed in caring for their pets as their human family members,” said Nancy Gilbert, director of marketing at Simon’s Roosevelt Field mall. “The set gets an extensive cleaning following the event, to remove any potential risk to allergy sufferers.”

By Brannon Boswell

Executive Editor/SCT

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