Dear Marc:

I love your upcycling holiday projects! They are so much fun! My question today is: Should I upcycle my plastic Christmas centerpiece and decorations or use decorations from nature (I.e. branches, pine cones, etc.)?

Dear Renee,

Plastic vs. organic? Talk about a perplexing battle of trying to weigh between the longevity and the authenticity of a piece! Our mind is filled with doubting questions such as; Should I collect branches and make a centerpiece? Would a plastic decoration be a wiser investment as I can use it years to come? Throw in opinions from your In-laws, spouse, and everyone in between and it’s enough to drive a sane person bolting towards a padded room!

The question that lingers on, what is the best option? As anything else relating to environmental issues, the answer to this question is a matter of personal choice. In my experience, my love for upcycling stems from this very same issue. We have so many wasted resources in this world, and I believe that we need to be given the tools to “recycle” and in this case – “upcycle”.

For design projects, I love a mix of organic and upcycled materials – the best of both worlds! You use an existing piece, upcycle it with a fresh coat of paint, and add organic elements to fool the eye. A project I created this holiday season took a hideous candle decoration, – and I use hideous in the most gracious way, – and with a little paint and branches, it was transformed it into a picturesque winter wonderland Christmas centerpiece!


  • Decorative candle wreath
  • Silver aerosol paint
  • Glass ornaments
  • Silver painted tree twigs
  • Glue gun and glue sticks


Step 1:

Let’s break it down to the bare bones! Strip the wreath of any decorative elements (I.e ribbon and ornaments). Spray paint the plastic greenery silver.


Step 2:

Warm up that glue gun! Point and apply glue where you want to include your glass ornaments. If you hum the “Mission Impossible” theme song while doing this, it helps create rhythm. Odd numbers are always best and spread them out in a semi-symmetrical way around the wreath.


Step 3:

Anything organic has to look natural. That sounds easy enough when something is in its native environment, although it’s a little trickier when it’s surrounded by glittered plastic! The trick to get the branches to look natural is to have them bend slightly around the arrangement. Follow the same circular pattern around the entire wreath to create a unified look.


Step 4:

Place a beautiful flame-less candle (much safer and with the same esthetic than a traditional flame candle) in the centre of the wreath and proudly display your new Christmas centerpiece in your home!


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Marc Atiyolil is the editor-in-chief of the home décor publication, Home Trends Magazine. His charismatic, down to earth approach can be seen first hand as the co-host of the Marc & Mandy Show airing on networks across North America. His mantra, “Be bold, be different, be unique – Yet keep it simple” is reflected in all of his work. Marc is an avid promoter of breaking down the myths of design and offering simple alternatives to complicated design processes.