Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, was once Saint Nicholas, a saint during the fourth century. His reputation for generosity and kindness resulted in legends being born. Giving money to the three poor girls for their marriage dowries was one of the first gifts bestowed by Saint Nicholas. Nicholas was revered throughout the Middle Ages, and spread to become famous throughout Europe.
His tradition did die out, but the Dutch kept it alive. Their variant of the name was Sinterklaas, which was taken to New Amsterdam (now New York) and became Santa Claus.
Clement Moore largely invented the sleigh, reindeer and Santa accessing the house by coming down the Chimney, in his poem ‘The Night Before Christmas.’ Further traditional ideas about Father Christmas were invented by advertising campaigns in the 19th century. Santa’s dress came from the original St. Nicholas – the red and white were traditional bishop’s robes.