Recycle your unwanted Christmas gifts, says Presbyterian head

The head of the Presbyterian Church of Wales, the Rev John Owen, has called on people to recycle their unwanted Christmas gifts and leftover food as a way of making sure that their care for the environment extends even throughout the festive season.

Rev Owen said that everyone should remember their "duty to the planet" this Christmas period, remarking that "the nativity had a minimal effect on the environment", according to the BBC.

While he welcomed the Bali agreement signed by world leaders to step up their commitment to climate change, he urged Christians not to become complacent.

"Yet this does not mean that we as individuals should rely on our governments to save the planet," he was quoted by the BBC as saying.

"Rather, we should redouble our efforts to take action and campaign against climate change.

"Over the festive period, when we focus on celebrating Jesus's coming, we should remember our duty towards our planet by recycling and trying to avoid food waste."

He added, "Even unwanted presents can be recycled and put to good use through, for example, charity shops and freecycle schemes," as he warned that "people in developing countries suffer because we draw excessively on the world's resources".

The General Secretary of the Union of Welsh Independent Churches, Dr Geraint Tudur, stressed meanwhile that Christmas had the power to unite people.

He pointed to the famous story of British and German soldiers laying down their arms for a few hours on Christmas Day during World War I to enjoy a festive meal and fellowship together.

"And when was that? On Christmas Day, which shows the spirit of the festival," he wrote.

It was "nonsense", Dr Turur added to think that "doing away with the religious dimension will bring people together".

He concluded: "People have been coming together over Christmas for centuries, despite their differences."