I believe in decorative tins. At one time, they held English toffees, nuts, cookies or maybe even Aunt Mildred’s fruitcake. But these now-empty containers-- available at virtually any thrift shop-- can be a gift-giver’s dream.
I’m particularly grateful for them because, when it comes to wrapping presents, I am completely tape-and-scissors impaired. Too much paper, too little paper, bunched paper, over-taped paper… Most of the time, my finished packages look like they’ve been cobbled together by Dr. Frankenstein. And reanimation of the dead just doesn’t say “Gifting” to me.
But a nice tin looks good all by it’s little ol' self. And with a wide array of colors and patterns to choose from, the right tin can actually enhance a gift.
As for usefulness, once the gift is opened or used, the packaging is also ideal for storing loose change, paperclips, pencils, what-have-you. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, really.
So I try to pick up interesting-looking tins all year round. I look for different sizes and shapes-- you never know what size you’re going to need someday. And I won’t hesitate to buy a pretty Christmas tin in mid-July if I think I might be able to use it.
One particular brand of tins I find regularly is Daher. This was a Long Island New York company that manufactured tins in both England and Holland. They’re usually very colorful, often floral, and have an authentically vintage or retro look to them. The picture here is pretty representative of the later Daher tins.
When buying tins, make sure you open them up before you buy them, to verify that they’re in good condition. Some vintage tins may have been exposed to moisture over the years, and that moisture can corrode the metal. If you open the tin and discover significant rust, I would recommend avoiding that tin. It might be possible to treat it with a rust-preventing paint, but you run the risk of exposing your gift to rust, and given that most tins run in the fifty-cent to one dollar range, it may not be worth the effort.