Originally Posted by Oliver's Mama
Even though you can give the hoarder a moment of happiness when they open a physical gift, I think that's almost like enabling.
I think that you may be underestimating a hoarder's determination not to be helped, in large ways or small, and underestimating the extent of their demand resistance. I've stopped worrying about whether I enable my mother with trivially small gifted possessions. She will hoard with or without my help, and she will not change no matter what I do. I cannot teach by example; she is determined not to learn.
The last time I took Mom to dinner at a nice restaurant, she mocked the menu, and made fun of the restaurant, and made fun of the waiter's responses to her questions, until she made me cry. My SO and I ended up calling the restaurant, a favorite of ours, to apologize for her behavior. Her stated reason? She "felt bad" that I was spending so much money on her. Exactly how it helped to not only allow me to spend money, but also to make me cry, I don't know.
The last time I bought Mom theater tickets, and took her to the theater, and made sure she got to her seat, even though I was unable to attend (I needed to be available in case I got a phone call about my emergency-hospitalized father, her divorced husband), she sat in her seat at intermission for a long, long time, until she decided that she had to use the restroom. She thereby managed to avoid being back in time for the second act, and had to watch the rest of the play from the standing seats in the back. Of course, she made a point of telling me this, repeatedly. What's the fun of going to the theater at your daughter's expense if you can't _make sure_ that she knows that you threw away half of the experience? It's also important to refuse to accept the hearing-impaired headset, and then to complain that you couldn't hear.
The last two times I took Mom to the theater and went with her, she actively disrupted other patrons, once by making remarks, once by placing her hearing-impaired headset in _precisely_ the position that the headseat-distribution person told her would cause it to produce an annoying feedback sound that could be heard by others. (Actually _use_ the headset? Remember the fun of complaining that you can't hear?) She also claimed to be unaware of even the existence of one of the main characters in one of the plays, one who was onstage talking for about a quarter of the play, thus demonstrating that she had paid no attention to the play.
If I offered to take my mother's car to be detailed, she would reschedule, and reschedule, and reschedule, and she would complain about my determination to get her car cleaned, and eventually I would be begging her to allow me to give her her gift. The gift that I intended to give her would be re-cast as me harassing her, as a favor that she was doing _me_, in allowing me to inconvenience her by stealing her car for a few hours. If I did manage to get the car detailed, I'll also guarantee you that she would find a muddy place to splash the car through, and arrange to "accidentally" spill something in the cleaned car.
Now, these things _do_ give my mother pleasure. Mocking my favorite restaurant, ensuring that I know that the theater tickets are wasted, disappointing expectations in any way possible, those things give her pleasure. But _that_ pleasure is one that I refuse to enable.
With many hoarders, the hoard itself is the least of the issues. I don't know if your hoarding relatives are different, or if they're sufficiently not-immediate-family that they mind their manners with you. But believe me, making the gift "more interactive" will accomplish nothing, in my mother's case, but giving her the joy of rejecting the gift in person.
My apologies if I sound angry. But believe me, the issue is _not_ that I haven't gone out of way my to try to make my mother happy. The issue is that she is determined to punish me for doing so - sweetly, smilingly, with a southern-belle drawl that makes everyone else say just how adorable she is, she will make absolutely sure that she throws every effort back in my face. So I'm sticking with candy, hand cream, and umbrellas; those make lousy weapons for her.