Just before midnight on Monday, the lure of a decoration on the Octagon's Christmas tree proved too much for one man.
However, his Christmas joy was shortlived, after police arrested the 21-year-old man and charged him with theft.
Senior Sergeant Mel Aitken said the man had been drinking with friends when he decided to steal a decoration.
''It puts a sour taste on the good Christmas feeling."
The man was expected to appear in the Dunedin District Court on Friday.
Dunedin City Council events team leader Marilyn Anderson said trying to steal one of the decorations on the tree was not advised.
''If a person wants to put his hands among 20,000 lights, and take the chance of not getting his fingers fried ... it is really not a bright idea."
The tree, which sits on two shipping containers wrapped in fire retardant material, has been an annual Christmas fixture since 2003, and was installed in the Octagon late last month.