It's the thought that counts, so the old idiom goes – and we all know how much better it is to give or receive a heartfelt gift, than something bought in a last-minute rush. Or to decorate our homes with treasured baubles and items with sentimental value, rather than last year's sale bargains that have lost their lustre.

Not only do those things give us a warm feeling, they help to cut down on the mountain of waste generated during the festive season.

In that vein, Etsy Trend Expert, Dayna Isom Johnson – and interior designer and warrior on waste, Lynne Lambourne, who has been working with the British Heart Foundation – are offering simple switches for those wanting a more sustainable Christmas this year.

1 Consider reusable wrapping

Using a fabric wrapping that can double as a scarf or tea towel (for example) is a great way to add colour to your gift. Wrapping with cloth is a beautiful way to present a gift and is better for the planet, if it has another purpose.

There is also prettyrecycled wrapping paper on Etsy. Alternatively, use simple brown paper, tied with a pretty reusable ribbon.

2 Buy Vintage

Buying vintage allows you to create new memories without introducing new products to the chain of purchasing. Vintage items are usually one-of-a-kind with a story behind them making a truly unique addition to your home or wardrobe.

Find vintage Christmas decorations like these beautifulbaubles on Etsy or head to a local charity shop and see what treasures you can uncover.

3 handcrafted decorations

Spruce up your home and tree with ornaments made from natural biodegradable materials. There are thousands of handmade decorations on Etsy, frompersonalised painted baublestohand knitted Christmasmotifs. Beautifully made heirloom Christmas decoration will be in your family forever and treasured for years to come.

Check out these Winter Fairs for handcrafted gifts.

4 Grown your own gifts

Get green-fingered and give a plant in a pretty second-hand pot tied with a ribbon for a rustic look. Or take it to the next level and plant a tree for a loved one - as well as helping wildlife thrive, you're doing your bit for climate change.

(Image credit: Rei Moon)

4 Find the vegan alternative

If you’re shopping for vegan loved ones or trying to buy planet-friendly gifts then Etsy has plenty of vegan alternatives to many classic Christmas gifts. There's a vegangingerbread scentedcandle that will fill your home with festive smells or surprise someone with accessories made from alternative materials such as avegan cork leather bag.

5 Alternative Christmas trees

House plants can be turned into a modern looking Christmas tree by simply adding fairy lights and a few festive decorations. Over 6 million Christmas trees are thrown away in the UK each year, so this is an innovative way to ensure your house looks Christmas ready without having to cut down a real tree.

There are alternative trees like thismini wood tree decorand even the option to rent a Christmas Tree from

Alternatively, buy your Christmas Tree at Lower Stable Street, Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross in the capital and return it after 4 January – and they'll recycle it and have it turned into (pine flavour) gin by Bloomsbury Distillery.

6 Quality over quantity

Organise a Secret Santa among family and friends, so everyone receives one or two gifts they really like rather than mountains of stuff and lots of plastic. This will cut down on waste and save money for a few truly meaningful gifts.

7 Declutter and Donate

Donate what you don’t need. Having a clear-out before Christmas is always a good idea to make way for new items – take advantage of the British Heart Foundation’s free collection service so you can declutter ahead of the big day.

Take on the British Heart Foundation’s Green Christmas challenge this festive season by shopping second-hand and share your finds on social media with #BoughtAtBHF.

See how to keep your Christmas Tree looking fresh and fabulous.

Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites

A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written  for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.