Here he is, that magical elf who, once a year, creates such a stir. Is he Santa Claus, St Nicholas, Kris Kringle, or Father Christmas? Just where did his legend begin?
St Nicholas dates back as far as the third century. Of Greek decent Nicholas was born to a wealthy family. When he was a young boy his parents died in the plague and subsequently he devoted his life to God gifting much of his wealth the needy.
Kris Kringle is of German decent, referring to the Christ Child. He came into homes long after everyone was asleep, leaving tokens to symbolize the gifts of Christianity.
Father Christmas or Old Man Winter was a figure in pagan celebrations around winter. He travelled to peoples homes and in exchange for food and drink he blessed them with a mild winter.
As as most old legends do, over hundreds of years, they merge together to create new legends. Hence our modern story of Santa Claus.