The leader of cash-strapped Dundee City Council said spending funds on Christmas celebrations would lead to budget cuts elsewhere.
John Alexander said he would like “nothing more” than to increase the number of festive events in the city.
But he said the council – which needs to make around £20 million of cuts – is in no position to dip its hands in its pockets.
The city no longer has an official Christmas lights switch-on event in the city centre.
Instead, the Christmas events will kick off with the Dundee Hooley, which begins this weekend
It includes live music, a ceilidh, street traders and a torchlit parade.
Meanwhile, Winterfest will return to Dundee this year in a scaled-down version with no ice rink or big wheel. It will also run for a shorter period of time.
Previously held at Slessor Gardens at the Waterfront, organisers M&N Events have yet to confirm the new venue for this year’s event.
Council facing £20m reductions
Mr Alexander said the council spending more on Christmas would mean cuts to budgets elsewhere.
He said: “I would love nothing more than to expand and enhance the Christmas offering to the level that Dundonians, rightly, want to see.
“There’s a wealth of opportunities to support local and to showcase local businesses through sponsorship, for example.
“The problem for the council is that it’s facing another £20+ million of reductions this coming year because of the national financial situation.
“To spend more on one area, means taking it from another such as education or environment.
“Spending £500,000 on Christmas, means taking it from social work or education.”
New ‘thrive’ campaign launched in Dundee
Mr Alexander was speaking as he launched a new campaign to encourage businesses to support events in the city.
After a series of meetings with Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce, he said there was a “very clear appetite” from the business community to play a more active role within the city.
He is calling for businesses to participate in the ‘thrive’ campaign.
Mr Alexander said: “I’m inviting businesses, that are able to do so in the current economic climate, to join with the city to explore how we might combine our knowledge, talents and resources for the benefit of everyone who lives here.
“It’s not just about funding things, it’s also about guiding the city.
“If they can promote the city, that means there will be greater footfall which benefits the economy. That will then hopefully support and grow employment.”
Learning from a ‘spectacular effort’
He suggested that we could learn from the city’s long standing philanthropic history, including when The McManus, formerly the Albert Institute, was created by subscribers giving £15,770 in 1863.
He said: “it was a spectacular effort and it’s not beyond our ability to repeat the exercise in a different way.”
Mr Alexander believes an “improved and joined up approach” will help connect the ambitions of the city to its businesses.