Grinch Mall Owners Are Charging Kids to Visit Santa Claus & Killing Christmas

The spirit of Christmas should be is the love of your fellow man and the wonder of children. It's about practicing the Golden Rule, letting bygones be bygones, spending time with loved ones, and letting our kids have a little bit of magic in their childhoods before cell phones and pop music turn them all into cynical, gum-smacking, door-slamming teenagers. Part of your holiday tradition may be loading up your car and taking all your kids to the shopping mall to visit Santa. Well, this sweet little holiday tradition just got a whole lot more expensive in New Jersey


The Philadelphia Inquirer reports admission to the Cherry Hill Mall's Adventure to Santa costs between $35 and $50. That's right, for your kids to visit with Santa and sit on his lap, it's gonna set you back some dollars. Big ones. The visit does include photos or a video of your child telling Santa if he or she has been a good little boy or girl this year, but I can't help but think that's an awful lot of money if you just wanted your kids to read Santa their wish lists. Sounds pretty Scrooge-y to me, especially for low-income families who may not want to decide between feeding their kids dinner or paying a visit to the North Pole. 

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Visiting Santa is an expensive proposition for parents even without the "door charge." Once you see the computerized proofs of your kids on Santa's lap, it's pretty much impossible to turn down purchasing at least a 3x5 of them, which are overpriced to begin with. I get that shopping malls have to make money, but having a Santa attraction usually brings shoppers into the mall to spend money during the holiday season to begin with, so it's not like the owners of the mall won't make money without charging. I could see if your kid received a bunch of Santa Swag for this surcharge, but from what I can tell, the $35-$50 is only for the privilege of telling the Man in Red what you want to find in your stocking, and, as the Philadelphia Inquirer described:

The Santa display in Cherry Hill features characters from Dreamworks' Shrek movies and offers kids a 15- to 20-minute range of experiences in addition to seeing Santa, including a simulated sleigh ride to the North Pole, a concert performed by 'holiday elves,' and games, like iPads for designing gingerbread houses.

So your kids get to play on an iPad. Yay! Maybe parents should just download their own app and let their kids play for free, or for promises that they will help fold towels or empty the dishwasher. The worst part about this whole thing is that mall visitors can't even catch a glimpse of Santa. He is hidden away in a castle. So you wanna play? You gotta pay. 

I can't find a way to rationalize this at all. Thanks for ruining Christmas, Cherry Hill Mall! 


Image via Ruslan Guzov/shutterstock

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