As any Starbucks lover knows well, the War On Christmas is alive and well in 2015. And the epicenter this year is the Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island, where locals are outraged after the mall decided to ditch their traditional Christmas display for something more space age that looks like it'd fit in better at the Jet Blue terminal at JFK.
"Santa comes along with a decorated tree; he doesn’t come with a spaceship," Maria Lovdahl fumed to the Post. "Me and my husband looked at each other and said, 'What is that?' They said it was because people were offended by the traditional Christmas display, that they had gotten comments in prior years."
This mall was one of seven Simon Property Group shopping centers around the country to unveil the "Glacier" display last week. "I bring my child, I want to see the big tree in the background. This is blank," Betty Borrero said of the display. The outcry on social media has been even angrier, with people organizing under the #boycottsimonmalls hashtag:
Let's get this Trending #boycottsimonmalls, You have insulted a Nation By Changing The Christmas display at your malls
— Marianne Cook-Monaco (@mariannemonaco) November 8, 2015
— Ant G (@TheBoNose) November 7, 2015
Roosevelt Field Mall not having a Christmas Tree & other Christmas decorations to be "politically correct" and "not offensive" is absurd
— Andrew (@Th3FlashMIA) November 7, 2015
No Christmas tree at Roosevelt field? If it were Ramadan there wud be a goddamn mosque in the mall
— Connor Donlon (@condonlon) November 7, 2015
No Christmas trees because they are offensive?? Boycotting Roosevelt Field Mall for good . #boycottsimonmalls
— Kevin McElligott (@McElliMixer) November 7, 2015
More than 1,300 people have signed an online petition demanding they "bring back Christmas:"
Lots of people are very upset by the news coming from long islands largest mall.... Simon malls own Roosevelt Field has decided to take away Christmas decorations and santas tree to put him in a space ship sort of contraption in order to not offend people. Honestly, I think this is a true disgrace. Simon malls and roosevelt in particular was one of my favorite Christmas memories. They are disappointing thousands of customers this year who will not be shopping at their malls.... That was a terrible management idea, especially since they just put millions into renovation. If Christmas is so offensive then they are right... we shouldn't celebrate or buy merchandise from the companies who invest in their malls during the busiest season of the year. Other cultures and religions can have their holidays, and decorate accordingly for them in malls, and at home... but Roosevelt Field cannot minimize then try to capitalize off of ours. Goodbye to Simon malls. Oh, and MERRY CHRISTMAS Scrooge !!
Simon Malls released a statement on Facebook promising to put some trees back in the display:
We've listened to our shopper feedback the last few days and the idea that we eliminated Christmas trees in order to "not offend" anyone is simply not true. We're still adding in key elements to the Santa set this week and after hearing our customer concerns we will now be including a traditional Christmas tree as one of those elements. Together, the mix of traditional and modern design will create a magical North Pole and a new family tradition. Come and explore this modern and interactive experience.
The idea that we eliminated Christmas trees in order to not offend anyone is simply not true. We love Christmas and the holidays and our goal is to be a part of the holiday experience for our guests. We did not mean to cause offense. We aren't trying to make any sort of political statement. Rather we wanted to try something modern and interesting to celebrate Christmas.
'Glacier', which is not yet fully complete, is inspired by the Arctic where Santa begins his Christmas journey. Along with traditional Christmas trees, the experience includes 'Aurora', a digitized modern Christmas tree that performs a sound and light show every thirty minutes, an interactive wall and hidden discoveries. The experience is designed to celebrate the magic of the holiday season. Once complete, we hope you will come out to Roosevelt Field and enjoy.
They put one tree in this weekend, but people weren't satisfied with the capitulation:
Seriously, this is the Christmas tree Roosevelt Field Mall put back out for the Holidays..........🎄 pic.twitter.com/5IJaLkWLMN
— Kevin Mayer (@Vintage_Mayer) November 8, 2015
— Lisa Finelli (@only1lisamarie) November 8, 2015