For the holidays, create gifts that are uniquely you with these centerpiece arrangements

Here we go! This is the busiest shopping weekend of the year — it’s all about holiday gift-giving. If you’re like me and you can’t stand crowds and long lines, wait a little while, then pick up a few items and make some unique and personalized gifts yourself.

Here at Cathy’s Marketplace, I’m always looking for fun, fresh, creative home accents. With the holidays upon us, I put a few centerpieces together, and I’m going to share my tips on how you can make your own.

First off, start with your raw materials. Go to home stores, discount stores and craft stores. You’ll be looking for vessels, filler and cellophane paper. Or maybe you have an amazing vessel, crystal dish or ceramic in a cupboard at home. And don’t forget ribbon!

You know me, I’m all about multi-purposing. So the vessel that I want is not just a container. It’s not a plastic piece that will be thrown away after the potpourri has lost its scent or the wax has melted from the candles. I like to find vessels that can be used later as appetizer dishes or interesting fruit, veggie or sushi platters.


Now for your filler: This could be potpourri, it could be some nuts, rice, sand, glass rocks, river rocks, you name it. If you want, you can add a row of mini-votive candles, double-taped to the bottom.

And since you don’t want to create a gift that can be found just about anywhere, at the end you’ll want to add one final, special touch. More on this in my examples!

Finally, wrap your centerpiece in cellophane and tie it with ribbon and a little bit of green. Voila! You’ve got a gift and centerpiece in one that can be reused after the holidays.

In my first arrangement, I found this very cool, modern, long white dish (because white is white-hot!), layered in some river rocks and then some candles.

This arrangement is natural and earthy, but what makes it edgy and unique are the special touches of some wired beads as well as varying sizes of crystals to give it shimmer and bling.


In the second arrangement, I went a bit more traditional. Again, I started with a white vessel, then added some colored potpourri in greens and purples and browns. And for my special touch? This color scheme works really well with gold, so I put in a gold-plated flower branch to add height and dimension. Later on, this branch can be used to adorn almost anything.

Another idea is to use your vessel and filler as a gorgeous backdrop for some tabletop accents or candlesticks, which you could simply lay on top.

And finally, to get you thinking outside the box, look for little ways to add in your own personal message for the recipient. These little silver acorns can be added to almost any gift or be a gift in themselves, complete with a simple handwritten note that says, “I’m nuts about you!”

So yes, it’s great to open that powder-blue Tiffany box under the Christmas tree, but it’s also nice to get something that was personally and lovingly made just for you. Sure it takes a little bit of time, but the satisfaction of giving a gift that’s uniquely you and truly comes from the heart more than makes up for that.

Happy shopping — or happy crafting!


Cathy Lee is president and designer of Cathy Lee Style and Cathy’s Marketplace, a furniture and accessories showroom with design services at 1110 University Ave. She recently opened reStyle Hawaii, an affordable, style-conscious consignment warehouse with upholstering and repurposing services at 420 Keawe St. in Kakaako. Lee’s interior design work has been featured in local and national publications, on HGTV and in her DIY design workshops that teach homeowners the basics of style. Visit