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A sort of homecoming? Tins return to base.

Last week my wife called me at work to tell me there was a box at the door. I was expecting a package, but my wife told me that this wasn’t that package. She said there was a box of metal tins at our front door with a business card. When she told me who it was from I recalled the last time they gave me a bunch of tins, and so I was expecting a bunch of random tins that would be challenging to reuse. Giving someone my chocolates packaged in a tin that is clearly labeled as peppermint bark from Restoration Hardware is not the first impression I want when giving homemade candies. When I got home I was thrilled to discover several years worth of large tins—tins with familiar designs I had hand delivered over the last couple years.

Finding good metal tins that don’t already have food in them or, when empty, aren’t limited to holding only two truffles is actually a challenge. I buy almost all of my tins at Cost Plus World Market. Each year they stock a new pattern, and this box on my porch had tin designs spanning the past three years. This past November I dropped more than $100 on about two dozen tins of varying sizes. With prices ranging from $2.99 to $4.99, depending on size, the total cost of producing more than 40 gift packages during the holidays gets pretty expensive, with nearly 1/4 of the costs being packaging. Of course, my time is still not factored in—I gotta change that one of these days!

As of this writing, almost twenty tins I have given away have found their way home. Recipients are happy knowing that they are guaranteed to stay on the list the following year, and I am thrilled to save a little money. Since not all the tins make it home, I end up with a good variety of tins each holiday season, which is also nice. I haven’t seen our friends who dropped of the tins on our porch in a couple years, so I was surprised that they came all the way down from Marin to drop off the box on our porch. The sad thing is, had I known they were coming I could have filled one of the tins up with the Coffee English Toffee I had just made the day before! I’ll be sure to fill their tin up nice and full this holiday season.

  • Brian – mine are on their way back as I type. I’d hate to be ‘bumped off the list’

  • A friend of mine likes to keep all the tins she has received over the years (even if they say Restoration Hardware). She says each one reminds her of the person who thoughtfully made homemade treats for her.