Benedict Cumberbatch has a habit of talking and sharing his thoughts. Remember his opinion on those who participated in the London Riots way back in 2011? The Sherlock actor said of the people involved, “It makes me want to belt them, make them lame for a bit so they’re dependent on other people’s mercy.” I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, it’s the girl in the room on behalf of the PR company I always feel for when actors opine. However, not everything BC says is worthy of flinch. In fact, it seems as if he’s now the type of person who may regret such a hot headed summation of people he doesn’t know. His stance regarding the ongoing refugee crisis has been admirably outspoken. A few weeks ago, he asked theatregoers after a showing of Hamlet to donate to charities helping those affected by the ongoing civil war in Syria with an impassioned “Fuck the politicians.”
Benedict has continued his streak as a man of humane sense with an open letter to Santa. Yes, Santa. As part of National Letter Writing Day in the United Kingdom, the 39-year-old actor penned a letter to Santa about what he really wants for Christmas, and his demand is that of a longer childhood for children in today’s world. “A little more time for children to be children,” he wrote. Stretch the moment of magic and playfulness. Distract them from the realities of a world gone mad so that they can laugh with their breath rather than sob with their tears.” It’s a fair ask in 2015, which has seen international headlines get steadily worse. Benedict’s year has been one of personal joy. He married Sophie Hunter in the Spring and became a father for the first time. We wonder if those happenstances affected his outlook?
It’s actually a rather great letter. Here it is in full…
Dear Father Christmas,
So my friend has asked me to write to you … I have to confess it’s been hard to know what to say. Mainly because like most adults I feel preposterous asking anything of you because our time with you is surely done. Now we get our own presents, control our own fates, take responsibility for our own actions, and live in the world we have created… so it’s not for us to turn around and plead for your help with the environment, the migrant crisis, the NHS, education, food banks, human rights, fundamentalism and wars. Though God knows we need all the help we can get with all these man-made problems and more.
And it’s not that you aren’t compassionate and full of joy. You’re great. In spite of you being changed into different colours for corporations and being bastardised to represent materialism gone mad — despite probably originating in some season based pagan druid ritual a million thought miles from requests for spontaneously combusting hoverboards … Kidadults cynically pointing this out after having their moment of belief in you are wasting everyone’s precious time. Because you are not for them. You are for the children. Children who need some magic in a world where the borders between innocence and responsibility, playful imagination and cold, adult obstacles are continually shrinking.
This is what I’d like to ask you to help with. A little more time for children to be children. Stretch the moment of magic and playfulness. Distract them from the realities of a world gone mad so that they can laugh with their breath rather than sob with their tears. Especially those caring for family members, or suffering illness, hunger or poverty. Especially those hiding in buildings as bombs rain down, or being handed shaking with fear or cold into a boat to escape environmental disaster or war. Please help to light up their worlds with a moment of joy and hope.
When I think about it you’ve got it tough this year … And when I really think about it I’m not sure that asking you for a lightsaber and getting one (not that I ever did by the way) is equatable with controlling the space time continuum and making the good of childhood last a little longer.
But you do inspire wonder and awe amongst those that write you letters and go to sleep hoping there might be a new object in their possession come dawn. You inspire good behaviour and, at least in my memory, some desperate last minute attempts to redeem bad behaviour so as not to be overlooked. Spare a thought too for those millions who want to write to you but through illiteracy can’t. Hear their words and help to give them the time and chance to learn how to read and write so they can better their lives and escape their impoverished beginnings.
I feel a little sorry for you. And I guess I’ve done exactly what I said I wouldn’t … Asked you to help with adult problems and solve some of the greatest worries we have for our children. I promise to leave some extra port and mince pies for you!
Lots of love
P.S. Please could I have that lightsaber now?
Via Letters Live