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Nancy Koehn on BPR, 12/19/2018

With Online Shopping Edging Out Brick-and-Mortar Stores, What's A Mall Santa To Do?

Malaysia Christmas
A man dressed as Santa Claus, right, poses for photos on Christmas day at a shopping mall in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, Monday, Dec. 25, 2017.
Sadiq Asyraf/AP
Listen
Nancy Koehn on BPR, 12/19/2018

It's time to take a look at Santa's other workshop: the shopping mall.

With online shopping beginning to displace brick-and-mortar stores, what is a mall Santa to do?

Nancy Koehn, professor at the Harvard Business School and author of Forged In Crisis, explored on Boston Public Radio how mall Santas are adapting to an online shopping-obsessed world.

"The bottom line is: A lot of Santas in malls have time on their hands in a way they never did," Koehn said.

She said many Santas have tried to adopt by focusing on doing work at corporate or charity functions. The Atlanta Braves and Falcons, for example, have employed their own private Santa to do events with the teams.

Other Santas have taken a decidedly 21st-century approach.

"There area Santas who specialize in taking selfies," Koehn said, pointing to a San Francisco mall employing a Santa to "roam the halls on the weekends taking Instagrammable photos with shoppers."

If you want to try this experience for yourself, there are recurring "Selfies with Santa" events at Faneuil Hall this holiday season.

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