All I Want for Christmas Is in This PowerPoint Presentation

Every year, Michelle Miller-McNair asks her three children to make lists of what they want for Christmas. “They usually write it down on a piece of paper or send me a link to a website,” she said.

But this holiday season, Ms. Miller-McNair, a comedian in Mooresville, N.C., received something else: An 18-slide PowerPoint presentation with photos, links and QR codes. It was made by one of her daughters, McKinley.

“I worked on it some during school and also when I was at my friend’s house,” McKinley, 13, said. “It took me about two hours total.”

The slide show included Panda Dunks (black and white Nike sneakers), makeup, and a necklace from Kendra Scott. She marked high priority items with stars. Before delivering her wish list to her parents one weeknight after dinner, she practiced going through her deck.

“I thought through what I was going to say for each slide,” McKinley said.

Her mother was impressed.

“She gave me reasons why she doesn’t just want these items, but she actually needs them,” Ms. Miller-McNair, 40, said. “She had these Uggs that are slide-on-slippers, and she said she needs to put them on when she gets out of basketball practice, so she doesn’t ruin her basketball shoes.”

Let’s hope Santa is tech-savvy. Kids have long been using Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides for gift requests and school projects, but this year’s lists seem more elaborate than ever, with links, photos, decorative themes and QR codes. A number of recent TikTok videos show teenagers taking their parents through their gift requests in meetings that resemble corporate sales pitches.

Madison Earl, from Brighton, Mich., was recently part of the audience for a 12-slide presentation put together by her 14-year-old niece.

“I have a background in marketing,” said Ms. Earl, s a director of a medical spa, “and this was a very high-tech presentation, with hyperlinks and color codes and everything. I was really surprised she could figure out how to do all this. I was like, ‘Good for her, if this is how she wants to spend her time.’”

Ms. Earl, 30, noted that her grandfather, who was also there for the presentation, was particularly amused by the high-tech slide show. “He was like, ‘Oh my gosh, kids these days,’” she said.

Alyson, a 14-year-old in Topeka, Kan., used the PowerPoint skills that she had learned in school to make a deck for Christmas. “I had nine slides, and they were divided into different categories like ‘jewelry’ or ‘clothes,’” she said. “I changed the way each slide popped up so it would come from different directions, and I used colorful backgrounds.”

Her mother, Samantha Ralph, 33, who works in human resources with the Department of Veterans Affairs, said she appreciated the work that went into the slides. “It made it a lot easier, so we weren’t guessing brands,” she said.

She also thought the presentation — which her daughter connected via Bluetooth to the family television — created a happy holiday memory for the family. “It was really fun to watch her put all that dedication into something,” she said. “It brought us all together and took a moment out of our busy day.”

Alyson seemed ready to make more PowerPoints in the future. “Maybe I will do this again for my birthday,” she said. “Or when I apply for colleges.”

Elaborate digital presentations may not be the best way to secure gifts from more analog-minded family members, however. Peyton Chediak, 22, a college senior in Orange County, Calif., said she received some flak after presenting her Hanukkah list in a PowerPoint.

“Some of my family members, especially my dad and cousins, were like, ‘Wow, this is a lot,’ or ‘Wow, this is a little ridiculous,’” she said. “I’m just like, ‘I know, but I’m extra.’”

Ms. Miller-McNair, the mother in North Carolina, noted that her daughter’s PowerPoint was not a hit with everyone in the extended family.

“McKinley went to her grandparents’ house, and she tried to send them the presentation, and they had no idea what it was,” she said. “They were like, ‘Can you just write this down?’”

But McKinley’s strategy was effective overall.

“She was so bold, and I was impressed she went this far,” Ms. Miller-McNair said. “She will get stuff from the list.”

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