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Santa Claus Visits are Going Digital, from 'Elfies' to Augmented Reality

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A Christmas village in a local mall.

Malls around the U.S. are using Christmas and Santa Claus to try to draw more consumers (and their children) to shop there.

Credit: HGTV

Macerich, one of the largest mall operators in the U.S., is offering "Santa HQ 5.0" at 15 of its malls across the country.

The holiday villages feature a "Magic Mirror" which allows visitors to try on different elf outfits virtually, and a station where children can see Santa's observatory through augmented reality.

At the Bridgewater Commons mall in New Jersey, visitors can ride the "Santa Elevator Express" up a 40-foot-tall Christmas tree to Santa's workshop for selfies.

Driving such installations is an effort to draw consumers to malls at a time when e-commerce is capturing an increasingly larger share of overall retail revenue.

Said Kurt Ivey of Macerich, “These are the physical experiences that really make a holiday shopping season something special. ...This is the type of thing online shopping can't deliver.”

From NBC News
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