What does one give to the person who literally has everything? Hoarding, over purchasing and holding on to things beyond their usefulness is very common these days. Having a hoarder in the family or among your friends raises gift giving concerns that we may not otherwise consider. What can be given that won’t add to the hoard? Hoarders will often save gifts for a “rainy day” or a special occasion. Most things that are given find their way to the top of a pile, rather than being used.
Some may think that not giving a gift at all may be in order, but when it is your loved one, or a good friend and you know that in spite of everything, they would still appreciate a gift from you, becoming thoughtful and creative is in order. Hoarding stems from obsessive compulsive behavior or obsessive compulsive personality disorder. It is very difficult to reverse and often the hoarder has become unaware or is in denial of their living conditions. Lecturing, judging or trying to help them clean does little to help the hoarder, and may drive a wedge between you. Hoarders need professional help. Family and friends do best, in the gift giving department, thinking of giving something that won’t add to the clutter and still will send the message that you care. Here are a few gifts I have given over the years that were appreciated and used. Some of these ideas actually enhanced our relationship, which can be strained as a result of the hoarder’s behavior.
1. A holiday wreath or flowers that are tossed out at the end of the season. When considering this gift, you need to be sure that the wreath or flowers will be disposed of after the season. If you are uncertain, this may not be the best choice.
2. Food stuffs, cookies, cakes, or a prepared meal–something you know the recipient will eat right away and enjoy. We have sent prepared meals which only require heating, as well as desert items and cookies all of which worked pretty well. Ensuring that containers are disposed of would be the only catch with this idea.
3. Tickets to activities, such as a favorite show or a sporting event. Perhaps a visit to a museum or a picnic at a local park. We have arranged this type of event, with great success. Memories of these days are still a source of happy conversation. Cherished memories are among the greatest gifts of all.
4. An offer to host dinner at your house or a favorite restaurant. This is dependent on whether the recipient likes to get out once in a while.
5. A certificate for an appointment at their favorite spa, barbershop or salon. Again, pampering can be a wonderful thing–or someone’s worst nightmare, so keeping in mind our recipients sensibilities is important.
It is always said that it’s the thought that counts. Dealing with friends and relatives with problems such as hoarding, is a delicate thing. Exercising a bit of empathy and compassion as well as love and generosity is possibly the greatest gift we can give to anyone we encounter.