The answer, of course, is yes! The original Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, was born in Turkey during the 4th century. He devoted his life to Christianity and his reputation for generosity and kindness gave rise to legends of the miracles he performed for the poor and unhappy. Devotion to the legendary St. Nicholas spread throughout Europe during the Middle Ages and he became the patron saint of Sicily, Russia, Greece, charitable fraternities and guilds, sailors and children. After the Reformation, the legend of St. Nicholas all but disappeared in all Protestant countries of Europe except Holland, where Dutch children would place their wooden shoes by the hearth in hopes that they would be filled with a treat. The Dutch knew St. Nicholas as Sinterklaas, which eventually became corrupted in Anglican to Santa Claus. In 1822, Clement C. Moore composed his famous poem, “A Visit from St. Nick” (later published as “The Night Before Christmas“), and is credited with creating the modern image of Santa Claus as a jolly fat man in a red suit.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours!
-information from Kimberly Powell, about.com