“Lights On is the most beautiful moment of the year for me. Seeing the smiles on people’s faces and hoping it will last for the next few weeks, is something very special.” When Sven Haimhof talks about Christmas markets, his eyes sparkle like Christmas ornaments. So it is no coincidence that “Mr Christmas” in the CP team is responsible for the Christmas markets in and around the URW shopping centres.
“Last Christmas” in summer
With no less than five large markets – in Bochum’s Ruhr Park, Recklinghausen’s Palais Vest, Leipzig’s Paunsdorf Center, Munich’s Pasing Arcaden and the Westfield Centro Oberhausen – as well as the small but fine market in the Riem Arcaden, it’s not an easy job: “For me, after the Christmas market is before the Christmas market: when the last truck rolls out of the yard in January, the planning for the coming year already begins,” he says. So for him it’s Christmas all year round and this has consequences: “I already listen to Christmas carols in July. And in fact, the Christmas tree at home was already up at the beginning of November this year”. We, the CP team, are well used to it: Sven’s playlist is legendary and it brings results:
Since 2012, Sven Haimhof has been in charge of the URW Christmas markets, which enchant countless visitors with their festive atmosphere every year. One in particular has grown close to his heart: “Westfield Centro hosts our largest and therefore most elaborate market. Most of the exhibitors have been coming for many years so that a real Christmas market family has been established there.”
Finally a Christmas wonderland again
Even in hard times, they stick together: “For many craftspeople in particular, the Christmas market is the event of the year. The disappointment about last year’s cancellation was enormous for them and everyone else involved. That’s why we are all highly delighted that we could all come together again this year,” says Sven Haimhof. The enthusiasm of the traders during the set-up was accordingly overwhelming – at all locations. The anticipation for the most wonderful time of the year leaves even the experienced “Mr Christmas” speechless for a little moment. “When I think back to the opening, I get a real lump in my throat”.
Another highlight this year was the Austrian premiere: In summer 2021, two more centres in Vienna were added to the portfolio. At the Westfield Donau Zentrum, the objective was also to organise a unique indoor Christmas market. “And something big is already planned for Westfield Shopping City Süd in 2022,” Sven Haimhof announces mysteriously.
And on a personal note, „Mr Christmas“?
We were able to uncover one more secret of our Christmas elf: although everything revolves around the most important Christian festival in his professional life, he is also a real Christmas fan in his private life. “I love going to Christmas markets. I love the festive atmosphere, the colourful lights, the glitter. It’s a very special feeling for me.”