Stars such as Annie Lennox and Benedict Cumberbatch have written to Santa with a list of wishes we can all relate to.

“It’s been a very long time since I’ve reached out to you on a personal basis,” wrote Annie. "It’s me again, writing to the wonderfully jolly mythical persona with the white beard and red costume, carrying sacks of toys through the night sky on a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer!

“I have everything I could possibly wish for, so I don’t want any more “stuff”. If there’s anything I might request, it would be something completely different.

“— Could you think of a way to create long lasting, sustainable peace on this planet, so that millions of children could live happy, healthy lives?

— Could you ensure that entire generations aren’t forced to flee their homes in cities, towns and villages in war torn countries from Syria to Nigeria — because they are being continuously bombed, burned and brutalised at every turn?

— Could you please do something to stop the perpetrators of unspeakable violence, who claim to represent belief systems which permit them to commit vile atrocities with impunity?

— And could you very kindly put some sanity and compassion into the hearts and minds of the criminal profiteers of hatred, bloodshed and genocidal warfare?”

“You are for the children,” wrote Benedict. "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.

“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.”

Thandie Newton also wrote to the big man: "You may be aware up in Lapland (I see you have Twitter) that us humans are having a crisis. We know enough to know how to help ourselves, but back when we didn’t know, we created monsters called Capitalism, Patriarchy, Genocide and War, which have taken on a life of their own. Now we’re loving and hating harder than we’ve ever done before. We’re at a tipping point.

“One thing we’ve realised, is that our destruction of life is potentiated by destroying everything that’s female on our planet. Whether it’s Queen Bees, salmon, forests or girls – the life giving vessels of the world are taking the hit. We’re in terrible pain Santa, and our hopelessness is resulting in a species suicide that must break your heart.

“But like I said, there’s evidence of that pain being turned into power. There are activists all over the world – a billion of them on my last count- who are forcing that tidal wave of destruction to turn; who are making good on the new knowledge we’ve acquired.

“My request, is that you ask Mrs Claus to come this year. Yes, your silent partner. But I know she’s the force that keeps you full of beans. You wouldn’t be so jolly, energetic and kind without the presence of a woman in your life. She must be FANTASTIC. You must love her to bits. You could come too, to share the load, but it would be an enormous inspiration to all of us to feel her awesomeness. It might give us the boost that we need.

“It might also give a boost to Aung San Suu Kyi as she takes up her leadership post in Myanmar, Angela Merkel of Germany as she powers on for another year, Cristina Fernandez Kirchner of Argentina, Michelle Bachelet of Chile, Aminata Toure of Senegal, Sheikh Hasnia Wajed of Bangladesh, and Hilary Clinton of the USA – she could really do with a boost before the elections come around. Women are standing shoulder to shoulder with men, our partners; just like I’m sure you do with Mrs Claus.

“It’s not a weakness to honour women, it’s a strength. It’s a strength that might create LOVE that can dismantle the mistakes we’ve made, and create a world where the simple gifts you give children can be enough again.”

To read more letters to Santa, click here.

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