I know what he means. I've heard it, too. And really, nobody can stomach a greedy spoiled brat squealing "gimmee, gimmee, gimmee!"
But the message that God is not Santa Claus sent another message as well. It went something like this. You can't go to God with any issue where there is the possibility that you may be at fault because you would be expecting God to bail you out instead of suffering the consequences of your own sin.
So basically, the message my friend got is that God is this guy who you can go to if you have jumped through all the right hoops and lived the holiest and best of lives and then you can approach him with your needs and hope that he may hear you. But to me that sounds like Santa Claus. Only less so.
God is not Santa Claus. But he is not less than Santa Claus. He is much, much, much more. He is Creator. Protector. Provider. Healer. Shepherd. He sets the captives free. He does not pay us as our sins deserve. He rejoices over us with singing.
What does Santa Claus do? He makes a list and checks it twice and wants to find out if you're naughty or nice. With Santa Claus, we're all toast. There is no grace and mercy with Santa. He expects us to pull our own weight and to it right all the time. And then, and only then, will we get what we ask for.
God knows us inside and out. He knows our frame. He knows we are dust. Earthen vessels. Prone to wander. Yet his word tells us that he is a good, good father and he loves to give good gifts to his children. Gifts that we don't earn.
He also tells us to come and to cry out to him. To tell him our needs. To depend on him. To hide in the Shadow of his wing.
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11
Santa tells us we need to be on the nice list.
No! God is no Santa Claus! That is a very good thing.