By following these expert tips, your holiday centerpiece is sure to stand out

When it comes to flowers and greenery and creating a beautiful centerpiece, I can certainly get by, but I’m no expert. With so many holiday dinners right around the corner, I thought I’d ask one of my go-to experts for the best tips on how to create a beautiful holiday centerpiece for your table.

Mike Miyashiro is owner and chief designer at Rainforest in Kilohana Square. I turn to him often because of his attention to detail, creativity and customer service. Here are his tips — presented in his own words. Take it away, Mike!

Holiday succulent accents


“Some of the most versatile plants we know of are wonderful succulents that grow well even when we’re not trying. We grow them year-round and chop them and multiply them in our gardens and pots. During the short days of winter, most flowering plants disappear, but not the succulents. Why am I mentioning succulents? Many of them resemble roses and exotic flowers that when combined with holiday accents, take on a new look.

“An easy decorating idea involves using a thin, coated wire to wrap stems of holly, greens and succulents together on a branch. Use moss or even dried leaves free of pests and crumbles. Gather materials and place them along the branch. From a point, wrap and tie the wire around the stems and begin ‘haku-ing’ branches, leaves and succulents together onto the branch. If you’re a haku maker whose winding gets bigger and grander until it looks like a horse’s wreath at the Kentucky Derby, then you’re the perfect candidate to make this because it doesn’t have to be thin enough for someone to wear.

“Finish the end by tying off the wire and hiding the tied end piece. Use this as a wall hanging by attaching a wire or string to the top, or placing it sideways on a plate or laying it in a fancy pot. Succulents grow geotropically, so plants facing the wrong way will eventually ‘right’ themselves by facing up. If you must, go ahead and add a bow and Christmas balls, and even a baby Rudolph. But the beauty is all yours in the making.”


E-Z Trim centerpieces


“Using leftover tree trimmings, or a designer bag of holiday trimmings will start you off in the right direction to make what I like to call E-Z Trim designs. Take out that old ceramic vase (the kind they don’t make any more) and garnish it with your holiday greenery. Pull out those pine cones, and even fake holly if you want, then add just a couple of nice accent flowers to this mix.

“There you have it: a beautiful centerpiece using scraps, accents and flowers.”

Thank you, Mike! I am loving the quick and easy aspects of your tips, especially how you use things you might already have lying around the house or yard. And for those of you out there looking for one-ofa-kind centerpieces for your holiday table, if you’re like me, I’m sure you can’t wait to get started. Happy decorating!


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. To find out more, go to