For many, the mall part of holiday experience

For families like the Nanguatas, the trip to the mall and visit with Santa is sacrosanct.

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The look on a child's face as she sits on Santa's lap tells the story: Christmas is around the corner and as times change, some family traditions stay the same.

The way those special gifts get from Santa's list to under the tree has changed as more and more people become comfortable shopping online and fewer are venturing out to the area shopping mall.

But for families like the Nanguatas, the trip to the mall and visit with Santa is sacrosanct.

They are visiting Fayetteville for Thanksgiving all the way from Washington State, and their first stop was Cross Creek Mall.

"The first thing we've done since we've been back in Fayetteville is take them to the mall," Jessee Nangauta said of her children.

"Every year we try to find a place to do it. Last year it was there in Washington in one of the malls there, and this year we're doing it here."

With modern conveniences like Santa's FastPass, parents and children no longer wait in line. Instead, like at an amusement park, they choose a time and walk right up.

While the Nanguatas like the ease of shopping online, they also like the tactile experience of trying on clothes and enjoying the sights and sounds of the holidays.

"We just enjoy taking in that holiday spirit, and spending time together, and seeing everything lit up and meeting new people," Elizabeth Nanguata said.

Last year, Forbes Magazine put together a list of things malls need to attract modern shoppers. In addition to an up-to-date look with digital signs, Forbes found shoppers are looking for a good mix of high fashion and traditional clothing stores, scheduled events and performances, good places to eat and a visible security force.

Those who like mall shopping enjoy it for the simplest of reasons.

"I love being out among the people," Robin Willis said. "I like looking at the decorations. It's all just fun."


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