Nicholas is thought to have been wealthy and to have given his gold away to help others. There is a story that he provided bags of gold as dowries for three daughters of a poor man to keep them from having to become prostitutes.
Nicholas is credited with raising three boys from the dead. They had been murdered and put in a brine barrel.
It is claimed that he attacked an Arian for his heresy and destroyed pagan temples.
In Constantinople, Emperor Justinian (d. A.D. 565) dedicated a church to St. Nicholas who in the intervening 2 centuries had become famous.
St. Nicholas is a patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, children, and students.
During the Reformation, Martin Luther replaced the celebration of St. Nicholas with a Christkind 'Christ Child' celebration on Christmas Eve. The Christkind morphed into Kris Kringle, who came to be identified with Santa Claus.
The name Santa Klaus comes from St. Nicholas: The Dutch Sint-Niklaas was shortened to Sinterklaas and Americanized to Santa Claus.