He knows when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he know if you've been bad, or good... for someone who knows so much about you, how much do you know about him?
The beloved icon of laughter, toys, and sleigh rides, Santa Claus's history is nearly as long, and as complex as Christmas itself.
It all began with a monk, who was called Saint Nicholas. In modern-day Turkey this man was born, lived, and became the subject of many legends. He was said to have been a man of great kindness and compassion during a time when people struggled for mere existence. The most circulated story of his compassion was he gifted a dowry to a father of three, young girls to keep them from being sold into slavery. Over time, he became the patron saint of children and sailors; though few sailors claim him today. His good deeds and the legends of his time spent on Earth became so popular across Europe, and portions of the Middle East, that an annual feast on December 6th to celebrate his birth became a popular tradition. By the AD 14th century, he was the most popular saint in Europe. Throughout Europe the stories of the kindly saint, and his great compassion for the needy, flourished. By the time immigrants came to America in the AD 18th century Saint Nicholas was a cemented part of December celebrations.
We have the Dutch to thank for bringing Saint Nicholas to America as their continued celebration of his birth on Decemeber 6th sparked the curiosity of others and Sinter Klaas, as they called him (short for Saint Nicholas), became "Santa Claus". Over time the celebration of Saint Nicholas became intertwined with Christmas and by the AD 19th century he was fully integrated. As early as 1820 the traditional Christmas shopping for gifts began and Santa Claus was used as an advertising gimmick to get children into their stores. Santa was never the same again.