Saint Nicholas was a Christian bishop
He was born in about 280 in Patara, Lycia
Which is in modern-day Turkey
His parents both died when he was young
And he used his inheritance to help
The poor and the sick.
There are many legends surrounding Saint Nicholas
He is supposed to have saved three men
Who had been falsely accused and sentenced to death.
He is said to have died on 6th December 343.
His reputation went before him as a gift-giver
As well as the protector of children and sailors.
So how does that explain where Santa Claus cames from?
Well, his story as a Saint became popular in Europe
Until the Reformation when Saints became unpopular.
However, the Dutch kept celebrating his feast day
On 6th December – children put out their shoes at night and
In the morning would discover the gifts he had left for them.
In the 1700s, Dutch immigrants took the legend
To the Americas where he was known as “Sint Nikolaas”
Or more commonly by his nickname “Sinterklaas”
There, he went through many transformations to become
Known by his present-day name of Santa Claus, although
The present-giving was moved to the Christmas festival.
Clement Clarke Moore wrote a poem in 1820 called
“An Account of a Visit from Saint Nicholas”.
He described Santa Claus as a jolly, heavy man
Who comes down the chimney to leave presents
For deserving children. He also drove a sleigh pulled by
Magical Reindeer flying through the sky.
Cartoonist Thomas Nast added to the legend in 1881
Drawing Santa with a red suit trimmed with white fur.
In the early 1930s, Haddon Sundblom illustrated
A marketing campaign for the Coca-Cola Company.
And so the kind, charitable bishop from Turkey morphed
To became the jolly Christmas icon we know so well today.