Here is a brief blurb about the real Saint Nicholas. I think my dad, who sails for a living, will be happy to know that St. Nick is also the patron saint of sailors!
"The historical St. Nicholas of Myra is a far cry from Santa Claus. He's the patron saint of children, women seeking husbands, travelers and more. Of the few things we can say with historical certainty about this saint of early Christianity is that he indeed lived. He was born in 280 and his see was on the Mediterranean coast, in an area where St. Paul had first brought the gospel a few hundred years earlier. The busy seaport of Myra, in the Asia Minor province of Lycea, is present-day Demre, Turkey. He was such a devoted and holy bishop that, much like Mother Teresa today, the people immediately recognized him as a saint. Thus, the Church kept careful track of his remains after he died in about 342...
Patron of Sailors
There are countless stories of St. Nicholas intervening to help sailors in times of distress. The most famous is told of a time when Nicholas went across the sea on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. A frightful storm came up, and the sailors feared they all were about to die. They came to the holy bishop and pleaded for his help. Nicholas prayed fervently, and the seas became miraculously calm. The sailors were amazed and gave praise to God.
It is said that on the return voyage a sailor fell to his death from a high mast. Nicholas prayed over the man and he came back to life. Nicholas never took credit for any of his deeds. He always instructed the people to turn their hearts to God and repent from sin. "
For full text, go to: http://www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/Dec2002/Feature1.asp