"Nicholas was born in the third century in Patara, a village in what is now Turkey. He was born into an affluent family, but his parents died tragically when he was quite young. His parents had raised him to be a devout Christian, which led him to spend his great inheritance on helping the poor, especially children. He was known to frequently give gifts to children, sometimes even hanging socks filled with treats and gifts.Mark has some interesting info in this article that I did not know, such as the name Kris Kringle coming from Christkindl, "Christ Child" in German. You can read the whole thing at the link above.
Perhaps his most famous act of kindness was helping three sisters. Because their family was too poor to pay for their wedding dowry, three young Christian women were facing a life of prostitution until Nicholas paid their dowry, thereby saving them from a horrible life of sexual slavery."
Well, the Russian icon of Nicholas that I found at Wikipedia doesn't look anything like Santa Claus, but I'm still going to say Ho, ho, ho everybody!