The car, a limo used by the mayor for official engagements, was spotted parked like this in the White Rose shopping centre in Leeds.
Apparently it wasn't quite what it seemed - as a spokesman for the council explained that the whole area had been cordoned off for a charity launch.
But the cordon was removed because of the risk it could be blown over in high winds - leaving the Lord Mayor 'looking like a naughty elf'.
A spokesperson for the Lord Mayor said: “We know this doesn’t look great, and we weren’t trying to save a space for Santa’s sleigh.
"What happened was that this four space slot was cordoned off and set aside for the car by the White Rose Centre team for when the Lord Mayor was launching the Candlelighters (her official charity) Giving Tree, and so that’s where the car was parked.
"They took the cordon away so it wasn’t blown over in increasing winds, leaving the Lord Mayor looking like a naughty elf.”