Greek Orthodox tradition tells of Saint Nicholas being born to a wealthy, elderly couple in Asia Minor (what is today Turkey) in the year 280 AD.
When his parents died, he used the wealth he inherited to generously give to the poor.
Upon hearing of a merchant who went bankrupt and that creditors were about to take his daughters, Saint Nicholas threw money in the window at night to provide a dowry for the daughters to get married, thus saving them from a life of prostitution.
When the father discovered who gave the money, Nicholas made him promise not to tell, as he wanted the glory to go to God alone.
This inspired the custom of secret gift-giving on the anniversary of Saint Nicholas' death, which was DECEMBER 6, 343 AD.
Saint Nicholas became Bishop of Myra and was imprisoned during Emperor Diocletian's persecution of Christians.
He was freed by Emperor Constantine.
Saint Nicholas attended the Council of Nicea where the Nicene Creed was written.
As tradition has it, he slapped Arius on the face for starting the Arian Heresy - the first heresy to split the Church.
Just like the Apostle Paul, in Acts, chapter 19, Saint Nicholas preached against the fertility goddess "Diana" and her immoral temple prostitutes at Ephesus - the Las Vegas of the ancient Mediterranean world.
The people responded by tearing down local temple to Diana.
Saint Nicholas was known for courageously rescuing a soldier who was about to be executed by a corrupt governor, and for having many miraculous answers to his prayers.