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Want your children to meet Santa this holiday season? It might cost you
Cherry Hill Mall in New Jersey enacted entrance fees for children to sit on Santa's lap. That changed, though, after anger from parents. - photo by Payton Davis
Annual family trips to visit Santa Claus at the mall might've induced stress, annoyance and awkwardness in parents but at least they came at little cost during an expensive time of year, according to Yahoo Parenting.

"Not anymore at least at the Cherry Hill Mall in New Jersey, as well as at an ever-increasing number of malls across the country, where entry fees, typically in the form of mandatory photo-package costs, are excluding a growing contingent of little ones, naughty or nice," Beth Greenfield wrote for Yahoo Parenting.

According to Yahoo Parenting, Cherry Hill's decision to make families pay for a photo package ranging from $35 to $50 sparked outrage among parents.

So Cherry Hill scrapped the requirement in an effort to "keep things festive," CBS New York reported.

"This time of year, this holiday season it should really just be about all things positive and all things festive, CBS New York quoted marketing manager Ashlyn Delson as saying. Were not trying to create a negative story.

Robert McCroppin and Vikki Ortiz Healy noted for the Chicago Tribune that charging to see Santa isn't exclusive to Cherry Hill.

The bottom line: As consumers use online shopping more, retailers hope Santa a "physical manifestation of the holidays" will draw them back, the Tribune indicated.

Often this means transforming holiday displays from the modest set-ups they were in the past to something much more, thus, the cost, Noerr Programs spokeswoman Ruth Rosenquist told the Tribune.

"They are full-scale Hollywood productions with very high-tech digital walls and cast members in elaborate costumes," the Tribune quoted Rosenquist as saying.

Before Cherry Hill dropped the fee, some parents noted improved experiences when paying for their children to see Santa.

Still, parent Mary Jo Schaumburg told the Tribune the advanced fee marks "a new level of greed."
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