He was a 4th century bishop in Asia Minor and is buried, circa 346 AD, in his cathedral at Myra. He has become a patron saint to many categories of people over the years. He is honoured throughout the canals of Europe as the boat peoples special saint. In Britain he is known as Father Christmas while in America they refer to him as Santa Claus. In France he was called Papa Noel.
The giving of presents results from the saint learning of a poor man who considered selling his three daughters. St. Nicholas visited the property anonymously and tossed a bag of gold through the window. It landed in a stocking hanging up to dry.