• Imagining History

Who Was St Nicholas? - An Intro For Kids

Updated: Apr 22


Who was St Nicholas?

Every Super Hero must have their origin story. Spider-Man was bitten by a radioactive arachnid, Wonder Woman fought in WW1 and the Flaming Carrot read 5000 comics in a row (No, I’m not making up the Flaming Carrot, he was a real comic character who used to bounce into battle on a nuclear powered pogo stick). Father Christmas, loveable, bearded, present-giving ‘Ho-Ho’er, has an origin story too, for he used to be St Nicholas. But who was St Nicholas you say?

Let’s find out.


The man, the legend.

Nicholas was born in the third century in the small village of Patara (in modern day Turkey). Nicholas was lucky enough to be born into a wealthy family, though sadly, that luck was soon to run out. For, when Nicholas was still just a boy, his parents sadly passed away from a severe illness.


This early tragedy led Nicholas to do all he could to help other people, spending all of his money to care for the sick and needy. Nicholas was rewarded for his sheer awesomeness by becoming the Bishop of Myra.




That though, is just the start of his story. In order to become a Saint, Nicholas had to perform three miracles. He had to go on a journey, just like in Strictly Come Dancing, in order to level up and become Santa Claus.



Present Giver

St Nicholas lobbing bags of gold in to stockings, what a throw!

There was a man who lived near St Nicholas who was very poor. So poor in fact, that he was going to have to sell his daughters into slavery. Which is a bit harsh, why didn’t he opt to sell himself to slavery first? Still, St Nicholas wasn’t going to let this go down on his watch. For three nights, Nicky – that’s what his mates call him – lobbed a bag of gold through the open window of each daughter’s bedroom.


With unerring accuracy each bag landed in stockings that had been left out to dry. St Nicholas became known as a gift-giver. And that is why Father Christmas leaves gifts in stockings – he learnt the skills to do it thousands of years ago.



Life Saver

St Nicholas brings the kidnapped children back to life.

Once upon a time there was an evil innkeeper – or possibly a butcher, the stories vary. On a Tuesday evening he kidnapped three innocent children, murdered them and stuffed their bodies in a pickling tub. WHOA!!! Where did that come from huh? You clicked here to read a bunch of fun and frivolous stories about St Nicholas and next thing you know, you’re reading about children being kidnapped, killed and pickled.


Why did the innkeeper kill the children? That we do not know. What we do know, is that thankfully St Nicholas was on hand to save the day. On one fateful night, St Nic stayed at the evil innkeeper’s inn. Whilst he slept in his bunk, Nicholas had a vision of the appalling fate that had befallen the hapless children. Nicholas descended to the basement of the inn, possibly wearing only his nightgown and a pair of cosy slippers – and discovered the child filled pickling tub. Praying with all the energy he could muster, St Nicholas brought the children back to life and returned them safely to their grateful families.


From that day forward St Nicholas was heralded as a protector of children. He still protects children as Father Christmas, though with the giving of lovely presents rather than resurrection skills.



Weather Man


St Nicholas calms the storm.

St Nicholas was on a long voyage returning home from a distant land. So far, so boring. Though that all changed when a horrendous storm swallowed up the tiny and frail boat that Nicholas was sheltering upon.


The wind blew, lightning flashed, and vast waves crashed into the broiling sea. The sailors all around the boat were freaking out, but the saint-to-be remained icy calm.


Calmly praying once more, Nicholas was unperturbed by the chaos all around him. The panicky sailors were dumfounded as the storm eased and passed, leaving the boat bobbing on a still ocean.


From this day onwards, St Nicholas was known as the patron saint of sailors and voyagers. Perhaps this is when Father Christmas also learnt how to control the wind. After all, how else would his reindeer and sleigh fly without a gust of wind or two to keep them aloft?


So, there you have it, a brief intro to St Nicholas, a look at some of his miracles and a peek at how he used his special set of skills to become Father Christmas. If you happen to be reading this blog in December, have a Merry Christmas! If you’re reading it any other month then… erm… BYE!!!