Traditional efforts to literally scare the hell out of people can and have caused significant damage, especially to children.
As a Christian educator, I am frequently asked by churches about the best techniques for turning children into Christian believers. As the national director of discipleship ministries at the Home Mission Societies, I am asked to help cast a vision for faith formation across the human lifespan. I maintain that much of our task in discipleship formation is repentance and remediation.
The Santa myth is frequently used as a parenting tool that plays into the unfortunate reward/punishment approach to parenting. Weeks leading up to the holiday are often filled with threats of “I’ll tell Santa!” or “Don’t forget who is watching you!” These tactics, reinforced by the Santa lore, potentially lay the foundation for a problematic understanding of God