The Real Saint Nick is a far cry from the Santa we have come to know in the west with a big belly and a bushy white beard.
NBC News sent a correspondent to modern-day Turkey, the real birthplace of the real St. Nicholas who served the town back when it was populated by Greek Orthodox Christians.
In one of the earliest attested and most famous incidents from his life, St. Nicholas– the bearer of gifts in a sack– is said to have rescued three girls from being forced into prostitution by dropping a sack of gold coins through the window of their house each night for three nights so their father could pay a dowry for each of them.
St. Nicholas’ journey from a saint in southern Turkey to the fairy tale figure that adorns holiday decorations and appears in shopping malls has been one aided by advertising and American pop culture.
Watch NBC News’ report from Turkey
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