The background of St. Nick is somewhat known- the monk St. Nicholas born in 280AD was known for giving away his inherited wealth and helping many people. St. Nicholas day was celebrated December 6th, when people feasted and gave gifts. Stories about St. Nicholas giving gifts continued on for centuries.
The name? A quick overview:
- Saint Nicholas
- Sint Nikolaas (Dutch)
- Sinter Klaas (shortened, Dutch)
- Santa Claus
Now the main question: when did he move to the North Pole?
In 1890, political cartoonist Thomas Nast drew what is now our image of Santa Claus in the North Pole. He was positioned there most likely because the arctic was seen as a mysterious fantasy land that no one had been to (yet), plus Christmas was associated with snow. So this mysterious, jolly, kind gift giver came from the land of the arctic, the North Pole.
It says: "Oh look, there's Santa."
[another bubble burster: apparently there are no penguins in the North Pole...]