Under Boycott Threat, NJ Malls Bring Back Traditional Christmas Decor
It will look and feel like Christmas at all of the Simon Properties malls in New Jersey locations.
Several of the company's properties — including Menlo Park Mall in Edison, Riverside Square in Hackensack and the Rockaway Townsquare mall – came under criticism for having Santa's chair in what resembled a snow cave called an "enchanted glacier" without a Christmas tree or any other symbols of the season.
Simon Malls President David Contis in an email described the new display as a "modern interactive experience for the family."
But Customers took to the Facebook pages of the respective malls to voice their displeasure about the decorations.
Shopper Stephanie Bradshaw Taglietta wrote where, "We love Menlo's Christmas display for our family Santa pictures; however, the change this year is not traditional and not what I would hope to see at the mall. I'm sorry to say, but we will switching to another mall (which also means shopping at another mall). If you decide to go back to the original, like some other malls are starting to do, you might want to post pictures of that so you do not lose valuable customers."
The Patch of Jefferson said that Frank Atkins, who identified himself as an employee for the Parsippany school district, posted on the Rockaway Mall's Facebook his belief that the mall had gone "politically correct." The post has since been removed from the mall's Facebook page.
A group called "Boycott Simon Malls" was created on Facebook over concerns that the new decorations are "setting the stage for the future of Simon Malls and our overall holiday shopping experience at other shopping centers as well."
The page called for more traditional decorations to be put up, but also called for other holiday symbols to go up including a Menorah, a Kinara and even a Festivus pole.
"The point here is ... we do not need any traditions changed, especially when all of the existing traditions aren't being fully celebrated. Let's work on that first"
Traditional decorations are on their way to Simon Malls' 16 New Jersey locations, according to Contis.
"After listening to customer feedback, we immediately decided to reinstall our existing Christmas decor and hope our customers will join us in celebrating the Christmas season."