SouthPark Mall decides to warm up glacier display, adding back Christmas tree

Published: Nov. 7, 2015 at 11:01 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2015 at 11:03 PM EST
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Melinda and Mark Mickholtzick brought their twin three-year-old sons Tyler and Bryce to see...
Melinda and Mark Mickholtzick brought their twin three-year-old sons Tyler and Bryce to see Santa at SouthPark Mall Thursday on November 21, 2013. (John D. Simmons | The Charlotte Observer)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - SouthPark mall decided Saturday that they aren't going to side step tradition with their Santa set.

Friday, SouthPark mall in Charlotte made headlines when they said they were putting in a "Glacier" Santa experience in place of their traditional display that included Santa and a Christmas tree in the middle of the mall.

It was a place where thousands of families will come through to meet Santa and get their pictures taken.

In a statement from the mall, they said their goal with the new Santa display was to add a tradition that would be "fresh and exciting."

"The reinvented and modernized experience will bring the Charlotte community together in a way that hasn't been done before. Simon values tradition, and that's exactly why we wanted to refresh and modernize our holiday experience at SouthPark to keep the tradition fresh and exciting."

That idea got a cold reception on social media.

Thousands sounded off about their dislike for the idea, saying they would boycott the mall and that the structure looked like an egg or something from outer space. On Twitter, hashtags like #glaciergate and #BringBackTheTree started trending. A petition was even started on Change.org that had over 18,500 signatures.

One day later, on Saturday afternoon, the mall tweeted saying after listening to customer feedback, the glacier experience "will now include a traditional Christmas tree."

In Friday's statement announcing the new Glacier experience, SouthPark said it was "thrilled to be among the first wave of Simon centers to receive the new "Glacier" Santa experience." The new display will also feature a sound and light show every 30 minutes.

"We're aiming to create a magical experience – something truly different and fun for families to enjoy together this year and for years to come."

SouthPark mall's Glacier installation wasn't the only Simon mall to get a chilly reception, Newsday writes that Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City, NY is also going to be adding a Christmas tree back to its Santa display after a backlash from the community.

In Charlotte, the outside tree in Symphony Park was always in the mall's decoration plans, but the Charlotte Observer reported that the popular lighting ceremony was not on the mall's calendar for 2015.

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