The Man Behind the Story of Father Christmas/Santa Claus
St. Nicholas was a Bishop who lived in the fourth century in a place called Myra in Asia Minor (now called Turkey). He was a very rich man because his parents died when he was young and left him a lot of money. He was also a very kind man and had a reputation for helping the poor and giving the people who needed it secret gifts. There are several St. Nicholas myths, even if we don’t realize if any of them are real!
The story about St. Nicholas
There was a poor young man who had three lovely daughters. The man was very poor he didn’t have enough money for a dowry, so he couldn’t marry his children. (A dowry is a chunk of money paid by the parents of the brides to the bridegroom on the wedding day, even today in some countries.) One day night, Nicholas quietly fell a gold bag down the chimney into the house (this meant the older daughter could be married then). The bag dropped into storage that was hanging to dry by the fire! With the second daughter, this was replicated later. Eventually, determined to find the person who gave him the money, every evening the father secretly hid from the fire until he caught Nicholas falling in a gold bag. Nicholas begged the person not to tell anybody else what he had done because he was unwilling to attract attention. But the news soon came out, and when someone received a secret gift, Nicholas thought it might have been.
in 1066, before he set sail to England, William the Conqueror prayed to St. Nicholas asking that his conquest would go well.
You can find out lots about St Nicholas at the St. Nicholas Center.