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Benedict Cumberbatch (Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

What do you get the man who has everything and a new family to boot? Well, he’s got some ideas.

Letters of Noel is a celebration of National Letter Writing Day in the U.K. (December 7) and a way to promote another run of the hugely successful Letters Live events, in which celebrities read some of the startling correspondence from the books. You may remember Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Louise Brealey exchanging some fairly heated readings at the last event.

Benedict has contributed an actual handwritten letter to Santa—the full text of which is here—in which he expresses sympathy for Father Christmas (as he’s better known in Blighty), has a bit of a think about his place in history as a creature of folklore and asks for help in keeping childhood magical.

He said: “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…

“Because you are not for them. You are for the children. Children who need some magic in a world were 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.”

He rounds things off with an inclusive wish: “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.”

And then he promises to leave him extra port and mince pies, after making such unreasonable seasonal requests.

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By Fraser McAlpine