So how did Santa come about? Where does hit fit into Christmas?
Old Saint Nick can be traced back to a good monk named St. Nicholas. He apparently was born around 280 A.D. in the country we now call Turkey.
St. Nicholas was highly regarded for his kindness, and he became associated with numerous legends. He reportedly gave away his inherited wealth, and traveled near and far helping the less fortunate.
One of the better known stories involving St. Nick says he saved three poor, young sisters from being sold into slavery by their father by giving them a dowry so they could be married.
As the years passed, St. Nicholas’ popularity became widespread, and he was known as the protector of children and sailors. His feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, Dec. 6.
St. Nicholas’s feast day became a popular day to get married or make significant purchases. Even after the Protestant Reformation, when the honoring of saints began to be discouraged, he remained popular in Europe, especially in Holland.
The common people loved St. Nicholas and his fame and reputation survived. People continued a tradition of placing nuts, apples, and sweets in shoes left beside beds or in front of fireplaces.
Sometime later, the good reputation of St. Nicholas was transformed by poets and writers to Santa Claus, the giver of gifts-- in this country and elsewhere. However, if you look deep enough, Santa Claus still is St. Nicholas.