Saint Nicholas was a real person. He was the Bishop of Myra in the 4th century and took part in the great church council of Nicaea which gave us the Nicene Creed - the one we recite every Sunday in Church! He was extremely concerned with children's welfare, and there are many legends about his good deeds.
Most of the Christian world still remembers Saint Nicholas and celebrates his life on December 6. He is depicted as a bishop of the church, with his cope, miter, and crozier. When people dress up as Saint Nicholas, they dress like a bishop and when they make cookies on his feast day, the cookies are cut out in the shape of a bishop with a staff. But in the United States, he has become known as Santa Claus or Jolly old St. Nick and instead of remembering him on his feast day, he is believed to give gifts, with the help of elves and flying reindeer, on Christmas morning. Saint Nicholas Day and the eve of his feast are an excellent way to re-educate our children on the proper role of Saint Nicholas. He cared for children and for the poor. He gave to people who were in need. He would never have wanted to be the focus of Christmas! Saint Nicholas gave because Jesus had already given everything. Saint Nicholas would point us all back to Jesus.