Happy Holidays from Global Local and LGIU

Happy Holidays from LGIU and Global Local. Just like local government makes the place, local government also often makes the holidays, too – providing the special magic of lights and fun or highlighting the kindness and spirit of the season. We wanted to highlight some of the wonderful examples of creativity, community and festive infrastructure.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Civic pride at the holidays

Councils around the globe celebrate the festive season with lights, trees and visits from the jolly old elf himself. While not everyone celebrates Christmas, local government uses the opportunity to encourage community spirit, encourage charitable giving, local shopping for economic recovery and to share messages about everything from public health to sustainability.

In the Global Local spirit of sharing best practice, we gathered a few examples. We’d love to see more! Tweet to us @GlobalLocalLGIU to share your local examples of holiday cheer!

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Every place is different – from the annual pardoning piglets by the mayor of Miami to the Cavalcade of Lights in Toronto originating in the celebration of a newly built city hall – local traditions are one of the things that make places and holidays special. From putting up the city lights, to organising parades, communications campaigns and gift giveaways, it’s the people who work for and represent these towns and cities that really make the place.

Miami, Florida, USA

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

Civic lights

We love a good town hall any time of year, but there’s something special about a town hall lit up in holiday style.

Auckland, New Zealand


Bolton, England

Dublin, Ireland


A visit from old St Nick!

A chance to tell Father Christmas what you really want is a highlight of the holidays for many kids.

Sydney, Australia

Holly Springs, North Carolina, USA

Holly Springs goes all out with a mailbox in front of the town hall and regular routes through the town’s neighborhoods.

Romsey, England

In the borough of Test Valley, each year Santa has to be rescued from town hall. I think we all know the feeling of burning the midnight oil at the civic offices and needing a rescue.

A municipal sleigh ride!

Transportation services can get into the swing of things, too!

London, England

Transport for London in the UK has shared the best bus routes for taking in the lights in Central London:

Wellington, New Zealand

The commuters are loving the trains are all wrapped up for Christmas and there are more announcements of fun and festivities, balanced with Covid safety  from the city council.

Oh Christmas Tree!

Christmas trees are the centrepiece of many municipal holiday decorations. These are some of our favourites:

Idanha-a-nova, Portugal

We love this crocheted tree in Medelim in the municipal district of Idanha-a-nova in Portugal.

Adelaide, Australia

Did you know you can decorate the Giant Christmas Tree in Victoria Square / Tarntanyangga on the Adelaide Christmas Cracker Trail app! 🎄

City of San Francisco, California, USA



San Francisco has traditionally had a beautiful city hall light display and tress and as well as traditional generosity from city employees and other public servants.

I'm dreaming of a green Christmas

Despite being wonderful, Christmas is also the most wasteful time of the year. An estimated 30% extra household waste is produced and discarded across the festive season. This increase represents around three million more tonnes of waste in the UK and 25 million tonnes in the USA (the latter between Thanksgiving and New Year).

Local governments are encouraging their communities to act in a more environmentally sustainable way this Christmas. Here are some of the council actions and messages that caught our eye:

City of Ljubljana, Slovenia

The Christmas tree in Ljubljana’s City Hall is decorated with yoghurt bottles, painted with designs inspired by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian by pupils at local France Bevk Primary School. Known as the dragon city, the Slovenian capital often displays abstract Christmas lights, including some based on comets and DNA strands.


London Borough of Brent, England

Brent Council is running a ‘green Christmas’ advent calendar campaign. The council is sharing waste tips throughout December, including information about drop-off points for turning trees into compost and a reminder that used batteries should be recycled at supermarkets to avoid risking fires in household bins.


City of Edinburgh, Scotland

The City of Edinburgh Council is sharing a Green Christmas guide on its website, plus ‘naughty or nice’ festive recycling ideas and food waste tips through photos and videos on Twitter.


Melbourne, Australia

Jill Riseley, Chief Executive of Melbourne’s Metropolitan Waste Resource and Recovery Group told LGIU’s Ingrid Koehler about their circular economy Christmas tradition on the Global Local podcast. The fun ‘Dirty Santa’ game involves regifting presents wrapped in recycled paper, which can be kept or stolen. The Group also produces really useful resources for councils, including about introducing food waste recycling services.