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Christmas as we know it today is a Victorian invention of the 1860s. It is probably the most celebrated holiday in the world. Our modern Christmas is the result of hundreds of years of both secular and religious traditions from around the globe. December 25–Christmas Day–has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1870.
The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicholas. It is believed that Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. in Patara, near Myra in modern-day Turkey. Much admired for his piety and kindness, St. Nicholas became the subject of many legends. It is said that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick.