Is Santa Claus Real? Actually, Yeah.

From the book Can Holding in a Fart Kill You? By Andrew Thompson

Santa Claus History

Santa Claus (known by different names in different places) is a mythical Christmas character popular in Western culture. Also known as Father Christmas, he is said to live at the North Pole, where he and his elves make presents, which he delivers on Christmas Eve by traveling the world on a flying sleigh pulled by reindeer. Portrayed as a portly, white bearded old man in a red suit, he gains entry to houses by sliding down the chimney.

Santa Claus is thought to be based on a real-life man, Saint Nicholas of Myra, an AD fourth century bishop in a province of Byzantium, which today is in Turkey. A religious man, he was famous for his generosity, particularly to the poor, and reportedly gave dowries of gold to three daughters of a Christian man to prevent them from being forced into prostitution.

Although there is no written evidence that the real Santa Claus existed, we do know from folklore that a boy named Nicholas was born around AD 255 to a wealthy family. His parents are said to have died when he was young, and he traveled extensively throughout Egypt and Palestine, using his wealth to help the poor. After being appointed a bishop, he was imprisoned by the Roman emperor Diocletian, who persecuted Christians, but was later released by another Roman emperor, Constantine the Great. When he died, Nicholas was buried in his church at Myra and was later declared a saint. During the Middle Ages, his legend as a bringer of gifts became famous throughout Europe, and many churches were named after him.

The Dutch brought the legend of Saint Nicholas to the United States, calling him Sinterklaas. The name Sinterklaas was later Americanized to Santa Claus.