A hoarder has become her neighbourhood’s ‘Santa’ by giving children whatever gifts they ask for – from her own possessions
Shea Megale, 25, has struggled with hoarding for years and has hardly got rid of any possessions since childhood.
Determined to make a change, she installed a huge postbox in her town and asked kids to write to her asking for gifts.
She’s received and replied to more than 170 letters – fulfilling all their wishes using items she has at home.
The historian has gifted jewellery boxes, books, trinkets and toys to kids all around Centreville, Virginia, USA – already making a dent in her home hoard.
She said: “I know it’s been such a hard year for all of us, and I wanted to do something new to bring the Christmas spirit into our homes, safely.
“I don’t think I need to get rid of everything, but I think I do have a bit too much stuff nowadays – so it seemed the right thing to do.
“For each child who put a letter in my post box, I wrote a letter back, and told them they’re loved and Santa loves them too – I wanted them to know they’re not alone.
“I found it so rewarding to hear what an impact I was making on people’s lives – I even had a mum tell me her doubtful son started to believe in Santa Claus again after getting my letter.
“I’ll definitely be doing it again next year.”
Shea has struggled with ‘item attachment’ since childhood – meaning sentimentalises inanimate objects and can never throw them away.
This resulted in her living among mountains of collected items – from antique safari photos to fine china and even animal bones.
But she saw a big postbox – and it inspired her to tackle the clutter.
Being a huge Christmas enthusiast, she also hoped to spread cheer and positivity around the neighbourhood too.
She encouraged local children to post her letters through her postbox, she endeavoured to grant as many of their requests as possible – responding with a hand-written and wax-sealed letter.
She said: “I’ve been able to give away so many items I’ve collected.
“One little girl wanted a bracelet, so I gave her one from my jewellery box. Another asked for a book on Egypt, which I ripped right from my shelf.
“It can be tough, like when one little boy asked for a pet turtle, I gave him one made of seashells that I’d collected – that was a hard one to say goodbye to.”
But Shea, who lives with her parents, sister and three dogs, said it’s been worth it.
Shea said: “Although it did help me to clear my collections, my main aim was to make sure every child knows they are important, loved, listened to, and never alone.
“That was why I responded to each letter with my own handwritten letter.
“This year has been amazing, and I’m already planning next year.
“In 2021 I’m going to move the box to a different location so that it’s accessible to even more children.”