Kids are making elaborate Christmas lists on PowerPoint: 'It doesn't hurt to ask'

We’ve come a long way from handwritten Christmas lists.

Nowadays, kids are making their wish lists with PowerPoint presentations and other tools that probably leave Santa's head spinning.

On TikTok, children call family meetings to display electronic slideshows embedded with screenshots of desired items and website links to make purchasing easy for parents.

One family posted their daughter's presentation, which played music, with photos of a Maine Coon cat, a VR headset and a panini maker. A teen in another video, posted last Christmas, added a "disclaimer" to her presentation that read, "Please don't get mad at me; I get good grades; I do NOT expect all of this" before requesting Lululemon clothing.

"My sister came home from college just to show our parents her Christmas present slideshow," wrote another TikTok user, adding in the video's caption, "She ended it with saying, 'This concludes my 2023 Christmas presentation but to be continued.'"

This month, Victoria Renea's 9-year-old daughter, Makayla, sat her mom down for a 6-minute Google Slides presentation that kicked off with a choice between two pairs of Nike shoes. "That's $70, that's $120 dollars," Makayla told her mom in a TikTok video with almost 1.5 million views.

Next, the girl presented two customizable Stanley water bottles with accessories. "I want one of these ... or you can get them both," she said. "But one will be fine."

Makayla also requested beads with which to make bracelets, a 5-foot-tall "Squishmallow" pillow, a Keurig machine to make hot cocoa ("Because, why not?"), a Macbook Air, an iPad, headphones (or AirPods), a set of graphic novels, a bedroom doorbell, a shoe-cover machine and "very cute" mosquito repellent patches. She also asked for a "cool" mouthwash dispenser, a stone bath mat, a hands-free TikTok scroller and an automatic trash can.

“You want a $200 Target gift card?” exclaimed Victoria during the presentation. “Wow!”

Renea’s viewers said Makayla's list was "organized and practical," highlighting her "leadership skills." Followers said they would add a few of Makayla’s items to their own Christmas lists.

"I was still asking for dolls at this age," someone commented.

Renea, a mother of three in Alabama, tells that her children typically make Christmas lists by circling items in store catalogs. This year, Makayla learned to create online slideshows and display them on the family's television set.

"Our house rule is, 'It doesn't hurt to ask,'" says Renea. "The worst that will happen is that I say no."

The presentation raised Makayla's self-confidence and honed her negotiation and persuasive argument skills in a safe space. "I know too many adults who can't express their needs, wants or expectations," says Renea.

Although items like the TikTok scrolling tool are "ridiculous," says Renea, her daughter's requests are mostly practical.

"Makayla is starting a bracelet business so she needs beads," says Renea. "She asked for mosquito repellent for an upcoming family vacation, the shoe-cover machine is for guests and the mouthwash dispenser is because Makayla pays attention to hygiene and self-care.”

According to Sheryl Ziegler, a psychologist and author of “Mommy Burnout,” Christmas presentations are "modern day letters to Santa."

"It's not so different than when (older generations) circled expensive items in catalogs with markers," she says.

Ziegler says Christmas presentations can save parents time, but kids could go overboard or make the holiday feel transactional.

"Parents can offset expectations by asking kids to also write traditional Santa letters explaining why they want certain gifts and highlighting their good deeds over the year," she suggests.

According to Renea, several commenters suggested that her daughter's Christmas list is greedy or entitled. In her view, the presentation is no different than a manifestation practice, such as a vision board used by many adults.

"I will never shut their dreams down," she said of her children in a second TikTok video. "I will never tell them that what they want to do or what they want to achieve or what they want to have is too much, because it's not ... it does no harm to dream."

Renea has no intention of purchasing everything on her daughter's list, some of which can be saved for future holidays.

“If she earns enough money selling bracelets, I might pay for half of her Macbook," says Renea. “It gives her something to look forward to."

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