Often shortened to: Santa, Also called: Father Christmas the legendary patron saint of children, commonly identified with Saint Nicholas, who brings presents to children on Christmas Eve or, in some European countries, on Saint Nicholas' Day
1773 (as St. A Claus, in "New York Gazette"), Amer.Eng., from dialectal Du. Sante Klaas, from M.Du. Sinter Niklaas "Saint Nicholas," bishop of Asia Minor who became a patron saint for children. Now a worldwide phenomenon (e.g. Japanese santakurosu).