Santa Claus, Santa, Father Christmas, Saint Nick or Saint Nicholas, he is called various things by different families, and his story is a bit different for different families. It is thought to be a German story.
Adults know that Santa is a pretend person, and most people keep this a secret from their children. Eventually, children (about grade 4 or 5) figure it out, or are told by other children or their parents that he is not real. There are other pretend people in western culture such as the Easter bunny and the Tooth fairy.
Many centuries ago, the legend of St Nicholas began when an old man who was very kind, began giving gifts of coal to children in poor families. At night, the children would hang their socks on the fireplace to dry, and St Nicholas would put the coal into their socks so they could have a warm fire. That is why we have Christmas stockings.
Over the centuries, the story has changed and become more commercial to involve gift giving and Santa.
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