Rancho Santa Fe Village businesses offering a variety of unique holiday gifts, dining experiences


By Karen Billing

At the most recent Rancho Santa Fe Association meeting, board president Jack Queen encouraged RSF residents to “Shop the Village.” Inspired by Queen’s suggestion, we toured the Village shops and uncovered some great gifts that can be found as you wander through the Village streets and get into the holiday cheer by supporting local retail businesses.

Country Squire Gifts & Linens is packed with options for many on your list. And shopping there couldn’t be cozier — chances are owner Peter Kraus Jenson will offer you a cup of coffee while you browse or a taste of their popular pepparkakor, Swedish gingerbread thins.

Whether you’re shopping to set your own table or for a gift, Country Squire’s linen selection caters to a multitude of styles with its variety of napkins, placemats and napkin rings.

The store carries the beautiful Table Art line by Michael Michaud. His pieces are inspired by nature in gold and copper from delicate leaf serving spoons to a unique herb trivet.

Country Squire also has items from the Nambé line — one of its stylish wine coasters would be a great gift.

For the collectible lover, there are music boxes styled to look like carousels and an old TV that can play 50 different songs. Byer’s Choice caroler figurines are also quite popular.

For the children in your life, Country Squire would be a great spot to shop. One full room is devoted to kids’ books, games and puzzles — one fun one is called a “hug-a-puzzle,” a soft cat puzzle that when put together is a stuffed animal. Their selection of wood toys is nostalgic and delightfully non-digital. The store also carries plenty of adorable baby and toddler clothes, one-of-a-kind finds for parents and grandparents.

Plume has a full selection of boxed cards from lines like Kate Space and Crane & Co. For personalized holiday cards, you can pour through books of card options. Just be sure to give yourself about two weeks lead time for ordering.

At Plume you can personalize everything from robes to cutting boards. Try putting monograms on their Reed & Barton wine glasses, ice buckets or decanters. Any combination would make a nice gift when paired with their selection of fun wine stoppers and openers. One silver opener is cheekily engraved with “One good turn deserves another.”

Another idea is their Shoppy Chic reusable bags — going green was never so stylish. The plastic reusable bags come in a variety of styles and colors. Stuff one with a gift card to Stump’s Village Market.

Plume has a big selection of holiday-themed items such as ornaments, pens, mugs, mittens, reindeer eye glasses, candy cane striped pjs and knit baby booties that look like little penguins on babies’ feet. Plume carries the Michel line of soaps and room sprays in holiday scents like winter woods, peppermint and cranberry vanilla. The packaging is so beautiful they barely need to be wrapped to serve as a hostess gift.

A knit frame by Cupcakes & Cartwheels is adorably unique and is perfect for displaying a family photo or a snap from a trip to visit Santa.

Poinsettias or wreaths from Rancho Santa Fe Flowers & Gifts will help make any home more cheerful for the holidays. The florist also does a modern take on seasonal flowers with their Holiday Chic bouquet: a mix of roses, orchids and hydrangea in bold red and pale green with ornaments and sprays of pine needles comes in a ribbon-trimmed wooden box.

For do-it-yourselfers, don’t forget the Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club’s annual wreath-making event on Dec. 7 at 9:30 a.m. Participants are encouraged to make one wreath for themselves and one for donation to the RSF Senior Center.

Do your gift antiquing at McNally Company Antiques or at the Country Friends Consignment Shop and to say it with diamonds, you can get a custom-designed piece at Rancho Santa Fe Estate and Fine Jewelry or one of the original micro-band bracelets at Martin Katz.

While you stop in for your hot apple cider or cup of Joe from Caffe Positano, consider the gift of coffee and tea. Owner Tim Cusac roasts all of their coffee himself and a bag of Rancho Roast, Kona, organic Guatemalan Antigua or Ethiopian yirca would make any of your caffeinated friends happy. Coffee is available in pound and half-pound bags.

Republic of Tea tea bag tins or packets of Bellagio white chocolate hot cocoa mix would make excellent stocking stuffers, according to Positano’s Emily Richardson.

Rancho Santa Fe Pharmacy and Spirit Shoppe is a great place to grab a bottle of wine and peppermint bark on your way to a holiday party but you can also find some pretty great gifts inside, too. For her there are the big selling Ahava line of hand creams and scrubs, pretty and sweet smelling Lollia candles and lotions, Vera Bradley folkloria line of travel purses, wallets and umbrellas and stocking stuffers like cute coin purses, head bands, jewel adorned bobby pins. Spoil the man in the family with Caswell-Massey shaving kits.

For wrapping, they have a huge selection of wrapping paper, gift bags, ribbons, gift tags and every color of tissue paper imaginable.

The gift of fine art can be found at Timmons Galleries and if you shop late in the day on Thursday you can catch one of their live music and wine tasting events from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

You’ll want to hit Celeste Boutique for the hip woman in your life. The boutique carries clothing from cocktail dresses to yoga pants, as well as amazing accessories. Celeste has costume fashion watches, statement necklaces and cuff bracelets—the liquid metal mesh bracelets are very popular.

“We have very good prices,” said owner Celeste Johnson. “It’s high-end stuff but not high-end prices.”

You can also grab fashionable fedoras, boots, purses and very unique, leather bejeweled iPad cases.

Right next door to Celeste is Browtique, which specializes in blowouts, holiday updos and makeup for holiday parties. Consider a gift card for a waxing, facial, hair or special occasion make-up.

A gift card for a Brazilian blowout from Studio Felando would be a welcome stocking stuffer, as would the gift of a Yuko straightening or keratin smoothing treatment from Style Salon.

If going the gift card route, pick one of the Village restaurants (Thyme in the Ranch, Mille Fleurs, Pantry or Delicias) for a night out for your favorite couple or spring for a detailing for your favorite car enthusiast at Wax On Wax Off.

Give back

While on your shopping sojourn, take time to drop a gift into the Toys for Tots boxes located at several village offices as well as the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Station on El Apajo.