Mall Santas Are Using Gimmicks to Court Instagram Parents

Malls are giving their Santa villages digital upgrades in the hopes of luring parents — and their money — away from online shopping.

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Every year, parents visit malls so their kids can have their photo taken with Santa (and let the big guy know what they’re hoping to find under their Christmas tree.)

Thanks to online shopping, though, many malls aren’t seeing nearly as much holiday traffic as they used to, prompting some to give their Santa experiences a digital upgrade in the hopes of luring back parents — and their money.

Santa HQ

Macerich is one of the biggest mall operators in the U.S., according to an NBC News report. This year, it’s decided to replace the traditional Santa’s village at 15 of its malls with “Santa HQ 5.0.

This updated North Pole stand-in includes a “Magic Mirror” that uses virtual reality to let visitors see how they’d look in various elf outfits. It also features an “Elf-Ray Vision” station where kids can explore Santa’s observatory using augmented reality.

For the ‘Gram

Many malls are also trying to make their Santa experiences more “Instagrammable,” upping the visual ante in the hopes it’ll draw in parents who can’t resist an A+ photo op.

Some of the Santa villages in malls operated by retail real estate company Simon now include sets designed specifically for Instagram selfies, NBC reported. Meanwhile, parents who opt to pay for photos of their kids with Santa can have the pics sent to them via text to make sharing on social media a snap.

READ MORE: Santa Claus visits are going digital, from ‘elfies’ to augmented reality [NBC News]

More on holiday shopping: Robots Decorate Trees, Perform Carols in Store’s Holiday Display

The post Mall Santas Are Using Gimmicks to Court Instagram Parents appeared first on Futurism.

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