Rancho Santa Fe Flowers & Gifts offers a wide range of unique holiday services


By Claire Harlin

If you’ve ever driven through downtown Rancho Santa Fe around Christmas, you probably know that it’s lit up like a starry sky, palm fronds and rooflines lit with white and green and twinkling snowflakes in the street median. What you may not know, however, is that the it’s a tiny 900-square-foot flower shop behind this elaborate presentation — as well as the outdoor lighting of more than 60 homes in the area.

Rancho Santa Fe Flowers & Gifts, located at 6012 Granada, can not only fulfill your decorating needs for Christmas — whether you want to buy or rent the materials — but it’s a one-stop shop for planning events of any occasion. The store facilitates upscale linen rentals, tablescapes and even costumes.

For example, owner Penelope Bax just led a team of about a dozen in putting on a “queen for a day” birthday party, in which the birthday girl was led to a jet on a red carpet (provided by the flower shop) and whisked away for a fancy lunch in Los Angeles. When she arrived, the venue had been outfitted with embellished king and queen thrones and she was given a cape and crown to wear.

“The tablescapes had red roses, and we even had crown candles and napkin rings,” she said.

The shop may seem small, but all the planning and preparation takes place there, usually with the company of Bax’s well-known Golden Retriever, Charlie.

“Some people come in and say, ‘We don’t need any flowers today; We just came to see Charlie,’” Bax said, adding that in the 18 years she has owned the shop, she’s always had her dogs accompany her there.

Bax said that Christmas clients are booking up quickly, but she has added many seasonal team members to offer in-home consultations. A lot of people call the Rancho Santa Fe Association to find out who’s behind the lighting of the Village or the 15-foot tree in front of the Rancho Santa Fe Inn, and Bax gets bombarded with calls when the word gets out.

“A lot of people don’t realize we are the ones who do Christmas lights for the Village,” she said. “We decorate peoples homes and trees, we do tree lighting, hanging lights on homes and trees, custom wreaths, you name it. If you want to do it yourself, then if you buy the materials from us, we’ll tell you how to do it for free. Or we can come out and do it.”

The shop sells popular holiday items such as garland by the foot, pine cones and other greenery. She said she has spent hours with clients showing them how to line their mantles and staircases with Christmas embellishments. The shop also provides all the supplies, like ribbons, wires, lights and necessary tools. If you even want to go the extra mile, Bax said she can arrange for carolers to come to your home or event, wearing either traditional Charles Dickinson attire or “rockin’ cranberries” costumes.

Even after the holidays, Bax stays busy with decorating people’s homes no matter what the season. She specializes in sympathy services, weddings and new home welcomes, as well. For gifts, the store offers various items, from hummingbird feeders to perfumes to candles.

For more information on the shop, visit or call (858) 756-5023.

— Business Spotlight