Nothing Says the Holidays Like Your Kid’s PowerPoint Christmas List | Mint

Nothing Says the Holidays Like Your Kid’s PowerPoint Christmas List

Nothing Says the Holidays Like Your Kid’s PowerPoint Christmas List
Nothing Says the Holidays Like Your Kid’s PowerPoint Christmas List


Teens and tweens are using software to make businesslike gift pitches about what they would like to see under the tree. The presentation is just a start. ‘There is a dialogue.’

After getting some dud Christmas presents last year, Ben Galvani decided his family needed more specific instructions. This year, the 11-year-old created a nine-page slide deck detailing every item on his list.

One slide is dedicated to sneakers, including two types of Air Jordans. Another one, “Jerseys," has pictures of gear from NBA athletes such as Stephen Curry and Jordan Poole. Then there are videogames for his Xbox and a temporary tattoo kit, the latter listed under “miscellaneous."

“My family was starting to just give me money," said Ben, who lives in Wantagh, N.Y. and is in sixth grade. “This way I can tell them exactly what I want."

Holiday gift lists have gone high-tech. Tweens and teens are learning how to use Google Slides, Microsoft PowerPoint, Canva and other presentation software in school. Now, some of them are applying those skills in creative ways to pad their stockings or avoid the holiday dread of unwanted gifts.

Jenna Bush Hager’s 10-year-old daughter Mila made a PowerPoint presentation to persuade her parents to let her have a Greenlight debit card, which teaches kids about money while letting parents monitor their spending.

“She did a PowerPoint presentation on why she was responsible enough," Bush Hager, who is the co-host of “Today with Hoda & Jenna," said on a recent show. “And what chores she would do. And how she wanted to learn how to save. And how she wants to buy presents for her siblings at Christmas on her own."

Videos of wish-list requests, many of which feature slideshows and other gimmicks, are gaining popularity. Canva’s holiday wishlist templates were used more than 3 million times from Oct. 25 to Nov. 25, according to Jen Thompson, head of product marketing for the online graphic design platform. That compares with 1.7 million over the same period last year.

Parents have reacted with a mix of pride and concern. The slideshows let children polish their presentation skills, which could come in handy for school projects and career ambitions. But some fear they also risk making kids appear entitled or highlight the gap between the haves and have-nots.

“I was worried that she’d send it to all her relatives and there would be this expectation that they would have to buy her all this stuff," said Cheryl Fernstrom of her daughter Abby Fernstrom’s 29-slide presentation.

Cheryl had a change of heart when she got to the last slide, which reads in part: “I just want to say that I don’t expect to receive or need any of these things and I am grateful for all of the privileges that I have."

Abby spent about 10 hours researching products and putting together the slideshow, which features text in a cursive-style font and slides with a salmon color background. Gifts she really wants like velour track pants or clarifying body wash are decorated with gingerbread men. Items are also grouped by categories such as skin care, makeup, clothes, and technology.

On the big day last month, Abby presented the slideshow to her parents by streaming it on their TV in Chappaqua, N.Y.

Abby, 12, made her case like a pro. With an image of a Stanley IceFlow Flip Straw Tumbler projected behind her, she said: “We do have Stanleys but the one I’m using now is scratched and dented and spills really, really easily. It would be better to have a closed top one with a straw."

“We think she’ll be a lawyer when she grows up because she can argue like no one I’ve ever met," Cheryl said.

Abby wasn’t shy about playing to the crowd, either. Among her five skin care slides was one that featured an eye serum, balm and cream from the beauty brand Drunk Elephant. Abby explained to her mom, “I want to give you options of things you like so maybe we could share."

Her mom said the presentation is only a starting point. “We’ll go back and tell her why we don’t think she needs more skin care products," she said. “There is a dialogue."

It isn’t just kids who are giving more creative direction to their loved ones. Haley Bales, 25, sent different Canva presentations to her husband, brother and sister for gift inspiration. She also included links to product pages to make shopping easy. “My husband hates shopping so he really appreciated it," said Bales, who lives in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Jane Kim was surprised when her 15-year-old son’s Google Slides wishlist landed in her inbox without warning. “It seemed very forward to be asking for so much," she said. Jane and her husband Eddie, who live in Chapel Hill, N.C., told Josh that he shouldn’t expect to get everything he wants. “Maybe that’s a good metaphor for life," she said.

His mom hopes the experience will be good practice for his professional ambitions. “Josh is considering a career in finance, so he needs to get used to making slides and making his case," she said.

Above a photo of AirPods, Josh wrote: “I really need new ones—my AirPods from 4 years ago have really bad battery life." Near an image of Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 Sneakers, is the following explanation: “The shoes I have right now are too small."

Another slide has images of a Chick-fil-A gift card and cash, followed by a slide that reads: “Anything else you think i would want (im not that picky)."

He closed by saying thank you and adding: “no pressure because i really don’t expect to get all the stuff i want."

“People ask what you want, but it’s hard to remember," Josh said in an interview. “This is a good place to keep ideas and it’s easy to send to friends and family."

Just as in the workplace, there are risks with interactive presentations, including frank feedback from the audience. Kennedy Thompson’s father Justin challenged her gift requests during her wish-list presentation at their Stafford, Va. home—filmed by her mom, Dana.

Kennedy described the first item on her list, tote bags, as “perfect for school to bring around my supplies to every class." Her dad shot back: “Isn’t that what a backpack is for?"

Then came questions about the next item, a laptop case: “If I drop my laptop—and this is hypothetical—it would be OK." Her dad pointed out that she already has a laptop case. “Yes, but it’s broken," Kennedy said.

Another slide featuring $100 bills simply read “slay." “Money is just sooooooo cool," the 13-year-old explained in an interview. She also dedicated a slide to thanking her parents “from the bottom of my heart."

Ben Galvani said he spent several days compiling his Google Slide presentation. That meant lots of internet searches for items before pasting the ones he wanted into the slide deck.

His dad seemed mystified by the whole process. “When I was a kid, I just told my parents what I wanted," said Darren Galvani. “But we didn’t get as many gifts back then."

Write to Suzanne Kapner at

Nothing Says the Holidays Like Your Kid’s PowerPoint Christmas List
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Nothing Says the Holidays Like Your Kid’s PowerPoint Christmas List
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