Santa's real name is Saint Nicholas. He was a monk who lived around 280 A.D. in the area now known as Turkey. He was admired for his kindness and became the subject of legends.
St. Nicholas is said to have given away his possessions and traveled the countryside assisting sick and poor people. He came to be known as a protector of children, and by the time of the Renaissance, he was considered the most beloved saint in Europe. By 1820, the traditional Santa Claus began appearing in U.S. holiday shopping advertisements. St. Nicholas' nickname in Dutch, Sinter Klaas, evolved to the name Santa Claus.