Mark Davis/Getty Images
Benedict Cumberbatch wasn't always a Trekkie.
The 39-year-old actor, who played Khan in 2013's Star Trek Into Darkness, has written a letter to Santa Claus as part of this year's Letters Live series, which kicked off the U.K.'s National Letter Writing Day and also introduced its 2016 program. Cumberbatch wrote to him about his hopes for this Christmas, in addition to bringing up Christmas past. Years ago, he hoped to see a lightsaber under his tree, but Santa must have left the boy's toy in his sleigh. The actor's Star Wars dreams may have been dashed early on, but he still hasn't given up on jolly Ol' Saint Nick.
Here is Cumberbatch's letter 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 colors for corporations and being bastardized to represent materialism gone mad - despite probably originating in some season based pagan druid ritual a million thought miles from requests for spontaneously combusting hover boards...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 behavior and, at least in my memory, some desperate last minute attempts to redeem bad behavior 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?"
Cumberbatch, who welcomed his first child this year, is not the only famous person to write Santa Claus a letter this year; Comedian Russell Brand, musician Annie Lennox, actress Thandie Newton and alt-rocker Thom Yorke also participated.
Letters Live is inspired by Shaun Usher's international best-selling Letters of Note series. Each show features an array of performers reading letters written over the centuries and from around the world. The next six Letters Live readings are scheduled to take place from March 10 — March 15 at Freemasons' Hall in London.
Tickets are on sale now.
The organization works to promote both literacy and to fund-raise for literacy charities both in the U.K. and abroad. Cumberbatch sings its praises in a statement on its website. "Letters Live makes us pause and imagine the lives behind the letters read and the circumstances of their origin...It's a privilege to read this most ancient of communications live to an audience," he says of the "inspiring event."