Not only is Santa dead, he was from Turkey.
Yup. St. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra, which is now known as Demre, which is near Kemer, which is near Antalya... in modern day Turkey. It was Hellenistic Lycia at the time he lived there.
Nicholas was the only son of a wealthy couple. His parents died when he was young. He was raised by his uncle, the Bishop of Patara. Saint Nicholas died on December 6, 347 and thus, today is observed as a feast day for him. After his death, there was some shuffling around of his remains. He was placed a tomb in Myra, but when the Turks took over the area in 1087, Italian sailors secreted the relics to Bari, where most of him now lies. It's what happened in between the adoption and the dying that's interesting.
The story of Saint Nick started when, as the Bishop of Myra, he helped some poor girls without dowries. He did it anonymously - leaving a bag of gold at their door in the middle of the night. Sometimes-get this- if you were poor and deserving, he dropped gold coins in shoes if you left them on the stoop. That's where the dutch tradition of leaving clogs out for Sinterklaas (the guy in the pic) to fill with a gift comes from. (More presents!)
So what about the elves? Maybe they're the evolution of Sinterklaas's sidekick, Zwarte Piet. (Is he black from climbing in the chimneys...or because he's a black moor?). I have no idea, but I did hear the reindeer sleigh had something to do with Artemis, and she was definitely not Turkish.
Maybe I should have a spoiler alert at the top of this post....