‘Tis the season to hand out gifts. But in our harried culture, not everyone has time to write letters to Santa Claus these days. And since Kris Kringle doesn’t have a Twitter account (or does he?), we at Plugged In thought we’d ask for a few presents for some culture’s movers and shakers.
So Santa—can I call you Santa?—let’s begin with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It’d sure like to find a suitable Oscar host under its Christmas tree, given that they’re still looking for one after comedian Kevin Hart bowed out (due to some insensitive tweets). Seth McFarlane, a one-time Oscar host (and paragon of cultural sensitivity) thinks he knows why it’s been such a tough job to fill. “Look, it’s a gig that has all eyes on it,” MacFarlane told Entertainment Weekly. “And when you’re doing something that’s that much in the spotlight, with that much focus on it, that much intensity, you’re going to have a lot of opinions from a lot of people.”
The Academy has had no shortage of suggestions, though. Some believe that the cast of Saturday Night Live could just impersonate former hosts. Others wonder whether there should be a host at all. Sandra Bullock suggested that random actors should be pulled out of the audience and tossed on stage. “[You] don’t even have to tell them it’s happening, just put up the teleprompter, and go, ‘It’s your turn,’” Bullock said. “You’re an actor, figure it out.” (I personally think that a CGI host might be fun, but I’ve yet to hear back from the Academy on that.)
Lots of kids will be asking for new smartphones for Christmas, of course—but the numbers of kids actually getting them might be lower than you’d think. According to a study by eMarketer, just one in 10 children under the age of 11 own their own phone. But that same study suggests that even young kids could use a gift of curtailed screen time.
Kids’ and teens’ excessive screen time continues to land in the news, fostering new studies and alarming experts, and scientists tell us that phones can (and do) change the way our brains work. (Of course, it’s not just teens that could stand a break from techy screens. One writer broke up with her smartwatch for a week and suffered mightily.)
You know what else teens could use this Christmas? Some more sleep. In fact, according to a new study, we all could use some extra Zs, but teens are missing out especially. If you have some pull with school administrators, Santa, starting the school day later really does help.
Santa, also consider giving Miley Cyrus some undergarments she’d actually wear. And Nicole Kidman, who’s in three movies this month, might want a well-deserved vacation. And, given the fact that are homes are getting “smarter” and thus more obtrusive all the time, you could give us all a little privacy. The only one we want to see us when we’re sleeping is you, Mr. Claus. Though now that I think about it, that’s a little creepy, too.
Speaking of allegedly creepy behavior, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” continues to stir up plenty of heat—and perhaps unintended consequences. Some suggest the song’s out of step with the #MeToo era (concerns many Christians expressed before the era even began) and many insist it hints at date rape. Now the ditty has ridden the controversy to No. 10 on Billboard’s charts, and there’s a Kentucky radio station that played “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” for two hours straight. Oh, and Joan Collins—best known as classic Dynasty’s well-dressed villain—thinks the furor over the song might lead to the banishment of seduction itself. “Is someone going to have to ask permission of the parents before they can kiss a girl?” she said on Good Morning Britain. “It’s absolutely becoming out of control.”
(I’d be in favor of someone asking my permission to smooch my daughter, but maybe that’s just me.)
On a more somber note, it’d be nice if you could give the friends and family of director/actor Penny Marshall and Vine founder Colin Kroll—both of whom died this past week—the gift of comfort and solace.
Santa, one more thing: I know Christmas gifts are your thing, but if you happen to have an anniversary present in your bag, stick it under Mark Hamill’s tree. He’s been married to his wife, Marilou, for 40 years now—almost as long as he’s been known as Luke Skywalker. On Instagram, Hamill posted a sweet salute to his wife with a quote from Maya Angelou: “In all the world, there is no heart for me like yours/In all the world, there is not love for you like mine.”
On second thought, hold off on that gift. Because let’s face it: A good marriage is one of the greatest gifts of all.