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Most sources indicate that the legend of Santa Claus began with Saint Nicholas, a saint from the fourth century, but theories do vary a bit.:

Is Santa Claus real? That's a question you need to answer personally.

Is Santa Claus real? Read on and decide yourself:

Is Santa Real?

From many a child I often hear
A question one would think I fear.
So inquisitive their minds,
So bright their eyes,
I'd never be a party
to feeding them lies!

“Santa are you real?” they ask and ask.
Answering each in earnest is monumental task!
Driven like a race car
Persistent – oh they are –
They whisper in my ear...
They shout it from afar!

Santa are you real or NOT?
My friends all say you’re fake!
Please answer me -- once and for all
Answer NOW, for Christmas sake!

Well I answer the question
With a question of my own:
If I’m not real...
Then who wrote this poem?

It’s the SPIRIT you see
That makes Santa “BE”.
And certainly now,
While that SPIRIT's in ME

I AM REAL and I am Santa!

Follow up: 12-2014

It seems most likely, Saint Nicholas was born in an ancient seaport city that was know as Patara. When he was young, he went to Palestine and Egypt. When he returned home, he became the bishop of Myra. There was a Roman emperor at that time who wanted to destroy all the Christians. Saint Nicholas was thrown into prison. When Constantine the Great became emperor, he was released and once again became a respected person.

Over the years, Saint Nicholas became very well know for his generosity and kindness. There were many stories of the miracles he performed to help the poor and unhappy people he met. The news of this wonderful and mysterious man spread far and wide. There are many stories, and probably most have been forgotten.

For instance, Saint Nicholas gave generous wedding presents of gold to three girls who were very, very poor. When Saint Nicholas saw three children who had been chopped up by a butcher and put in a brine tub, his miracles somehow brought them back to life!

People everywhere in Europe heard of and loved Saint Nicholas. He became the patron saint of Russia and Greece; of charitable fraternities and guilds. Saint Nicholas was loved by children, sailors, unmarried girls, merchants, and pawnbrokers in cities all over Europe: Fribourg, Switz., and Moscow, and many more.
Thousands of European churches were were named after Saint Nicholas. His miracles were a favourite subject for medieval artists and religious plays. He even had his own feast day, the ceremony of the Boy Bishop, widespread in Europe. During this feast, a young boy was selected to be bishop and remained bishop until Holy Innocents' Day (December 28).
Over the years, many changes took place in Europe. There was a time known as the Reformation. During this time Saint Nicholas' followers disappeared in many countries of Europe except Holland. Saint Nick's legend there lived on. He was called Sinterklaas (the Dutch name for Saint Nicholas). When the Dutch came to America, they founded New Amsterdam, which is now New York City in the seventeenth century.

Sinterklaas was adopted by the country's English-speaking majority under the name Santa Claus, and his legend of a kindly old man was united with old Nordic folktales of a magician who punished naughty children and rewarded good children with presents.
Today, the magic of Santa Claus is not limited to any religioun. The power of Santa’s legend affects children, parents, and grandparents from all over the world. “Santa”, today, is an international and inter-denominational spirit of giving and helping the needy and deserving, and a symbol of hope and generosity. In that light, he is truly magical and immortal.

Is Santa Claus real? Only you decide: Maybe when people ask "Is Santa Claus real or not?", what they should really ask is if what Santa Claus stands for is real or not: Kindness, generosity, unselfishness. These Santa Claus virtues ARE CERTAINLY real and valuable!

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