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Saint Nicholas was a monk who was born in the 3rd century in modern-day Turkey. He was said to have given away all his inherited wealth to the poor and sick as he traveled. Over the years he became the patron saint of children, and was celebrated on the anniversary of his death, December 6.
In America, Saint Nicholas first became popular in New York City in the late 1700s, which at that time still had a strong Dutch culture. The name Santa Claus evolved out of the Dutch nickname for Saint Nicholas, “Sinter Klass.” Short stories and poems in the 1800s began to popularize his magical image of how we picture him today.
History. (2022, December 14). Santa Claus. https://www.history.com/topics/christmas/santa-claus