Briarwood’s message to Arbor Hills Crossing is a loud and clear “Bring it!” Its new leases in the last year seem to be a point-by-point rebuttal to the fancy new shopping complex. Arbor Hills has lululemon? Well, Briarwood just got Athleta, the other pricey brand of yoga wear for women. Arbor Hills has Bluemercury? Briarwood signed LUSH, handmade cosmetics and body products.

Briarwood also has hired an Indianapolis PR firm to get out the word that it’s stepped it up a notch for the holidays. The Kerrytown children’s store Elephant Ears took a temporary spot (through January 15) near Von Maur, and English Gardens likewise has a temporary spot in the former Tricho salon (Tricho just moved to the other side of JC Penney).

Briarwood’s biggest news is its skating rink in front of Penney’s (or more to the point, in front of Cinnabon, offering a possible solution to their 880-calorie snacks). Andy Saad is the owner of Fun4Us, which supplies malls and private parties with bouncy castles. He thinks synthetic ice will be the new bouncy castle, and he’s leased the space that used to be the kiddie play area for a year.

Synthetic ice is a crazy polymer that looks and feels like a plastic cutting board if you touch it with your fingers but feels like ice if you’re wearing ice skates. Hockey players practice on it, so it’s probably good enough for most amateur skaters. Skating is $6 an hour, and you can rent hockey skates for an additional $2 or BYO.

Elsewhere in the big mall, Sushi Cafe, where the Observer’s Jim Manheim used to get his hwe dup bap, has closed. It will be replaced soon, a sign says, by Potato & Co.

Briarwood mall, 100 Briarwood Circle. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Extended hours through Christmas (see website).