My building has decorated for Christmas this year. Notice I said Christmas and not the holidays. Despite living in a fairly diverse building only one of the many holidays celebrated this season is being given its fair share of attention. Last year there were wreaths and a tree in the lobby. This year there are wreaths and a tree, but there are also window decals on the front door. Window decals of snowmen and snowflakes and one that says Merry Christmas. I live in what was once the southern most part of Spanish Harlem and there are still quite a few tenants left over from those days. Wonderful people, and a few crazies, who have raised their families in this building and watched the neighborhood grow and change around them for the past thirty or more decades. These people are undeniably Christians and Catholics, they celebrate Christmas. However, there are many new characters in the building who I am quite sure do not celebrate Christmas.
All of the political correctness around the holidays and my buildings one-note celebration of the season are not the main issue here. I’m having a bit of a moral dilemma. The Christmas tree in the lobby has been decorated with ornaments and candy canes. Real candy canes. Candy canes that look fresh. Candy canes that, well, I kind of want to take. I just want to take one. Who would notice? And lord help us if they decide to use them again next year. Besides, the tree has been put out in the lobby for the enjoyment of the tenants. I am one of the tenants and I would find great joy in a free candy cane this year. Is it morally, ethically, and holiday friendly to take one of these candy canes off the tree and eat it? Would I just be the jerk who steals candy canes off the building’s Christmas tree? This is something I have been thinking about at least twice daily, once upon leaving and once upon entering my building, for the last two weeks. And I have another two weeks to grapple with this dilemma…oh boy.