The roots of Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, are in Turkey. Saint Nicholas was a historic 4th-century Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor, today’s Demre in Turkey. It is said that he used to drop bags of money through chimneys to help poor people. This legendary habit of him giving secret gifts created the traditional model of Santa Claus.
Today in Turkey with 98% Muslim Population, Chrismas is a day like any other day. However spending the Chrismas in Istanbul will be still enjoyable as from mid December streets and shops will be decorated like in western christian countries. It is not because Turkish people celebrate Christmas but they start to get prepared for the new year.
While you are in ıstanbul during Christmas time , if you want to attend special Christmas Mass the best choice will be Anthony of Padua. It is the biggest catholic church in Istanbul, located on famous pedestrian street, Istiklal Caddesi. This 300-year-old church holds masses in Turkish, Italian and English.
Other options for Christmas can be Church of Saint Maria Draperis, another historical church on Istiklal Caddesi, or the Church of Saints Peter and paul near Galata Tower.
It is very easy to get to Istiklal Caddesi from pierre Loti hotel. Just take the tram passing in front of hotel, and go to Kabatas . Then there change to funicular to Taksim Square and there you are..