The concept of the American Santa Claus originated with St. Nicholas, who was born in Asia Minor about 280. He was known as a kind, benevolent man and made a saint because of his generosity. In honor of St. Nicholas, December 6 became the traditional day in Europe for the exchange of Christmas gifts and the beginning of the holiday season. Dutch immigrants to the United States brought with them their version of the gift-giving St. Nicholas, known as "Sinter Klass." Americans, unaccustomed to the Dutch pronunciation, turned this into "Santa Claus," who is beloved as a symbol of Christmas by children of all ages.