St. Nicholas was born in 271 AD and died around 342 on Dec 6th. near Asia Minor. He was a bishop in the town of Myra, in modern day Turkey. He was a good friend to the poor and helpless.
Children put out their shoes the night of Dec 5 and he filles them with candy, nuts and Oranges.
The image of St. Nichloas ahs become merged with Santa Claus. I found some great information at wikipedia
When I was a child, St. Nick would leave a small toy or comic book or magazine. These days, St. Nick leaves a Christmas-themed musical CD or Movie (DVD) at our house.