His name was Nicholas and he was born to a wealthy, elderly couple in what is now Turkey in the 3rd century AD. When his parents died, he was left with a large inheritance and gained a reputation for generously giving to the poor. He entered a monastery and eventually was ordained Bishop of the coastal city of Myra.
Nicholas was known for miraculous answers to prayer, confronting pagan "Diana" worship and being cruelly imprisoned during Roman Emperor Diocletian's persecution of Christians. When Constantine ended the persecution, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea and helped write the Nicene Creed. A true Saint, Nicholas died on December 6, 343AD. Early American writer Washington Irving, creator of Rip Van Winkle and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, was instrumental in transforming Saint Nicholas into jolly ol' St. Nick!