Websites like Crowdfunder, Just Giving and Facebook are increasingly featuring fundraising pleas from communities where the local council can no longer foot the bill.
Residents in Boston, Lincolnshire, have set up their own “Christmas in Boston 2017” website after a lack of funding resulted in a “disastrous” Christmas last year.
The town’s crowdfunder page reads: “Boston Borough Council can no longer afford the £40,000 bill for Christmas decorations. Christmas 2016 was a disaster. Shoppers went elsewhere to get into the Christmas spirit.
“The atmosphere and mood of the town was dismal, sad and gloomy, with disappointment shared throughout the town. No one living here wishes to see a repeat of the poor display of last Christmas.”
The voluntary committee has so far raised more than £22,000.
Funding for Christmas lights has not only been hit by council cuts but struggling high street sales.
Traditionally local businesses have helped to fund festive decorations but shop closures as a result of online sales have contributed to the problem.
Figures released last week showed the high street suffered its worst October in a decade.
In the popular Kent seaside town of Whitstable, the chamber of commerce still owes £5,000 for last year’s Christmas lights and is unable to pay it having entered into a three-year contract with a Christmas lights company two years ago.
It is refusing to provide this year’s lights unless the debt is paid in full by Wednesday.
Residents have created a crowdfunder page to raise an “all or nothing” target of £22,000.
They have so far raised £8,412.
North Walsham in Norfolk appealed for donations for its Christmas lights.
The community Facebook page reads: “We need to keep the money coming in to support the lights otherwise we will have no other option but to go without the lights.”
Scotland has also been affected.
A number of towns and villages in the Angus area, including Arbroath, Monifieth, Kirriemuir and Forfar are appealing for donations after the district council announced it “doesn’t have the budget to pay for Christmas lights this year”.
The Local Government Association said: “The money councils have to provide vital day-to-day services is running out fast.