The Swedish Army Museum (Armémuseum) has defended selling hand grenade-shaped baubles as part of its Christmas charity drive.
The Stockholm facility is vending the lethal-looking ornaments in an attempt to raise money for Christian Aid, an anti-poverty and disaster relief charity.
“Support Christian Aid and their work for peace and against poverty by buying our Christmas ornaments which are a subtle reminder of those who are less fortunate than we are during the holiday season,” the museum says on its website.
According to Sveriges Television (SVT), however, not all museum visitors feel the drive is appropriate. “Quite simply I think it’s distasteful, especially if they are raising money for charity. This is a museum frequented by children and it’s hard to explain to them why there are hand grenades in the Christmas trees,” visitor Elinor Lindeborg told (SVT). “This is an Army Museum, but should still try to highlight a non-war perspective,” she added.
Another disggusted woman asked Sveriges Radio programme Ring P1, “How in the Lord’s name can they come up with such an idiotic idea to make Christmas tree balls shaped like hand grenades? Sick! Shameful,” she said.
Helena Martinsson, head of the museum, however, said they have no plans to pull to controversial items. “I can understand that people react, especially if they have been in a war situations themselves, but we’ve chosen to focus on seeing that proceeds go to a charitable cause,” she told Expressen newspaper.
“Having a decoration like this on the tree can get people to reflect on how good we have it here in Sweden and that there are people who have it much worse,” she added. “It could be the topic of an interesting conversation over Christmas.”