History of Saint Nicholas

Everyone knows the story of the jolly bringer of gifts, or do they? Santa Claus, otherwise known as Saint Nicholas or Kris Kringle, has a long history. 

The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicholas. It is believed that Nicholas was born sometime around 280 C.E. in Patara, near Myra in modern-day Turkey. Over the course of many years, Nicholas’s popularity spread as he became known as the protector of children. English legends explain that Father Christmas visits each home on Christmas Eve to fill children’s stockings with holiday treats and leave presents under their Christmas trees.

The name Santa Claus evolved from Nickolas’s Dutch nickname, Sinter Klaas, a shortened form of Sint Nikolaas. Father Christmas, or also known as simply Santa, is a legendary figure originating from Western culture. He is said to bring gifts to the homes of well-behaved children on the night of Christmas Eve and the early morning hours of Christmas Day. 

Santa is depicted as a cheerful man with a full white beard, occasionally seen with glasses, wearing a red coat lined with white fur holding a sack loaded with toys.

Santa Claus is said to make a list of children throughout the world, categorizing them according to their behavior in order to deliver presents, including toys and candy, to all of the well-behaved children in the world.

How did this St. Nicholas turn into the North Pole-dwelling bringer of Christmas gifts? He was associated with many miracles, and reverence for him that continues to this day, independent of his Christmas connection.

He is the protector of many types of people, from orphans and sailors to prisoners. He became known as a patron of children and a magical gift bringer because of two great stories from his life. 

The better-known tale is of three young girls that are saved from a life of prostitution when young Bishop Saint Nicholas secretly delivers three bags of gold to their indebted father. 

The other story that is not as well known is that Saint Nicholas entered an inn whose keeper had just murdered three boys and pickled their dismembered bodies in basement barrels. The bishop not only sensed the crime, but resurrected the victims as well.