What To Name A Baby Born Around Christmas

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Jessica Samakow
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Baby girl wearing red santa hat while sleeping and peeking at times
Baby girl wearing red santa hat while sleeping and peeking at times

By Linda Rosenkrantz forNameberry.com

If you’re choosing a name for a Christmas baby and you want to reference the holiday, there are two ways you can go. You can either be extremely subtle -- say by choosing the surname of a character in a Christmas movie -- such as Bailey in "It’s a Wonderful Life," or Virginia, as in “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” Or you can go the other way, and use a name that is traditionally and obviously associated with the yuletide season.

And this year, that’s what we’re opting for -- twelve classic names that say Christmas loud and clear.

Christmas:Can you be more blatant than this? Though it’s rare, Christmas has been used occasionally for both boys and girls in the past. In pop culture, Christmas Jones was a nuclear physicist Bond girl played by Denise Richards in the 1999, "The World is Not Enough," and on the old sitcom "Three’s Company," ditzy Chrissy was christened Christmas Noelle Snow.

Natalie:A longtime favorite for girls born around the Christmas season, Natalie is now at her highest popularity point ever -- number 14. Once closely tied to Natalie (born Natasha) Wood, her most conspicuous bearers today are actress Natalie Portman and singers Cole, Merchant, Appleton, Imbruglia, and Maines.

Eve:A great just-before-Christmas name, one that has everything: strong biblical roots, strength and simplicity, packing a lot of power into its single syllable. The oldest name in The Book, Eve has been chosen for their daughters by Clive Owen, Jessica Capshaw and Jeffrey Tambor.

Bell:Drop the ‘e’ from the popular Belle, and you have a much more musical noun name. This spelling was quite the rage before and after the turn of the last century -- in fact Bell reached a high of Number 275 in 1884. But it hasn’t chimed as a name since 1915.

Berry: Until around 1970, Berry was a not-uncommon boys’ name -- as in Motown founder Berry Gordy. Now, with the growing interest in fruit names like Plum and Clementine, this more generic appellation would probably be seen more as a possibility for girls. One female Berry of note was photographer Berry Berenson, whose birth certificate read Berinthia.

Holly:Deck the halls. Holly may be sliding in this country -- it’s at its lowest point since 1942 -- but it’s a solid Number 26 hit in England and Wales. And just to show how seasonal names can be, Holly was the second most popular name in the UK for girls born last December. Most Christmassy character name: Holly Holiday played by Gwyneth Paltrow on "Glee."

Merry:A cheery 1950’s name given to hundreds of girls who had to spend their lives protesting that their name wasn’t Mary. The Merry character featured in Tolkien’s "Lord of the Rings" is a male fully named Meriadoc Brandybuck, and Dickens’s character Merry Pecksmith was christened Mercy. Miss Merry Christmas has her own video game.

Joy:Like Merry, Joy is something of a high-pressure-personality kind of name, but is still in steady use, especially as a middle name. Some parents -- even non-Italian ones -- are considering Gioia as well, along with Giulia, Giuliana, Giovanna et al. The View’s Joy Behar was originally Josephina.

Noel:Noel, and sister name Noelle, have succeeded in having lives independent of their Christmas connection. Noel has long projected the slender, sophisticated, witty image of British playwright/composer Noel Coward, though rocker Noel Gallagher has buffed it up a bit. The French female version Noelle currently ranks Number 357 in the US.

Balthazar: The name of one of the Three Wise Men of the Orient -- also spelled Balthasar -- who brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus, is also the appellation of a 12-litre champagne bottle and a chic New York restaurant, not to mention an up-and-coming baby name for cutting-edge parents. Fellow Wise Man name Caspar is even more on the rise.

Rudolph:Sure, he’d probably get a certain amount of red-nosed teasing around the holiday, but a boy named Rudolph could probably take it. Besides, he’s got other, more distinguished, namesakes -- the great ballet dancer Nureyev, silent screen lothario Valentino and 9-11 New York mayor Giuliani. It’s one of those abandoned vintage names that just might come back.

Carol: There were more than 24,000 baby Carols born in 1941, but a handful at most are arriving these days, when its prime representatives are of the Carol Burnett-Carol Channing generation. Twenty-first century parents are opting for the more classic Caroline and Carolina instead.

Plus, here are Nameberry’s predictions forbaby names in 2013.

Biggest Big Picture Trend: Ancient Names

Russell Crowe’s "Gladiator" and HBO’s "Rome" may have kindled the trend for Ancient Roman names, but then the megahit "The Hunger Games" drove it into the big-time.  With another film of the series set for November 2013, we predict that names of old world gods and goddesses, mythological heroes and leaders will dominate birth announcements. Choices we’ll be hearing more of include Augustus and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Atticus">Atticus</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/persephone">Persephone</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/athena">Athena</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/juno">Juno</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/julius">Julius</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/thor">Thor</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/maeve">Maeve</a>. The appeal transcends the pop culture influence: These names are as powerful as they are deep, arming a child to triumph over earthly challenges.  Pictured: LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 24:  A general view of the after party for HBO's new drama series 'Rome' at the Wadsworth Theater on August 24, 2005 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)
Russell Crowe’s "Gladiator" and HBO’s "Rome" may have kindled the trend for Ancient Roman names, but then the megahit "The Hunger Games" drove it into the big-time. With another film of the series set for November 2013, we predict that names of old world gods and goddesses, mythological heroes and leaders will dominate birth announcements. Choices we’ll be hearing more of include Augustus and Atticus, Persephone and Athena, Juno and Julius, Thor and Maeve. The appeal transcends the pop culture influence: These names are as powerful as they are deep, arming a child to triumph over earthly challenges. Pictured: LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 24: A general view of the after party for HBO's new drama series 'Rome' at the Wadsworth Theater on August 24, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)

Most Surprising Name Inspiration: Superstorm Sandy

The devastating superstorm is not likely to inspire a wave of baby Sandys or even <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/sandra">Sandras</a>, but the endless repetition of the name is statistically likely to increase the use of S names -- as was the case of K names after <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/katrina">Katrina</a>.  Along with a wave of babies born nine months after the storm, we predict the rise of names with a Sandy-like sound, such as Alessandra or <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Cassandra">Cassandra</a> or Sander.  From there you can stretch to the word names Sand, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Dune">Dune</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Beach">Beach</a>, or even <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Storm">Storm</a>.
The devastating superstorm is not likely to inspire a wave of baby Sandys or even Sandras, but the endless repetition of the name is statistically likely to increase the use of S names -- as was the case of K names after Katrina. Along with a wave of babies born nine months after the storm, we predict the rise of names with a Sandy-like sound, such as Alessandra or Cassandra or Sander. From there you can stretch to the word names Sand, Dune, Beach, or even Storm.

Trend Most Likely to Cross the Ocean: Leonine Names

Leo has been climbing the charts since the emergence of Leonardo DeCaprio, but other leonine names popular in Europe are set to invade our shores. <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Leon">Leon</a> has been a top name in Germany and high in Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia and even Ireland for a decade—and that could happen here. Other leonine names stylish overseas with potential in the U.S. include <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Leonie">Leonie</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/lionel">Lionel</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Lev">Lev</a>, along with <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Leopold">Leopold</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Leonora">Leonora</a> which don’t mean lion but feel as if they should. One celebrity cut right to the chase, when Alex O’Loughlin recently named his son <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/lion">Lion</a>.
Leo has been climbing the charts since the emergence of Leonardo DeCaprio, but other leonine names popular in Europe are set to invade our shores. Leon has been a top name in Germany and high in Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia and even Ireland for a decade—and that could happen here. Other leonine names stylish overseas with potential in the U.S. include Leonie, Lionel and Lev, along with Leopold and Leonora which don’t mean lion but feel as if they should. One celebrity cut right to the chase, when Alex O’Loughlin recently named his son Lion.

Coolest Middle Name Trend: Non-name Names

Using a word, any word with personal significance, as a middle name takes the trend toward using an adventurous and meaningful name in the middle to new heights of quirkiness and creativity.  Celebrities have led the way, using everything from Ballerina to <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Bear">Bear</a>, Sweetheart to <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Seven">Seven</a> to Song to <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Star">Star</a> to <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Saint">Saint</a> in middle place following more conventional firsts.
Using a word, any word with personal significance, as a middle name takes the trend toward using an adventurous and meaningful name in the middle to new heights of quirkiness and creativity. Celebrities have led the way, using everything from Ballerina to Bear, Sweetheart to Seven to Song to Star to Saint in middle place following more conventional firsts.

Hottest Trend Inspired by a Celebrity: Meaningful Place Names

When Reese Witherspoon named her baby son <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/tennessee">Tennessee</a>, it wasn’t in honor of playwright Williams.  Rather, it has deep personal resonance, Reese having been raised in Tennessee, her mother’s native state. Other celebs have chosen names of places that also have emotional significance, while another contingent have gone for the more exotic -- Chris Hemsworth’s daughter <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/India">India</a> -- or the down-to-earth, as with Nick Lachey’s <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/camden">Camden</a>.
When Reese Witherspoon named her baby son Tennessee, it wasn’t in honor of playwright Williams. Rather, it has deep personal resonance, Reese having been raised in Tennessee, her mother’s native state. Other celebs have chosen names of places that also have emotional significance, while another contingent have gone for the more exotic -- Chris Hemsworth’s daughter India -- or the down-to-earth, as with Nick Lachey’s Camden.

Newest Retro Trend: Midcentury Nicknames

The last wave of grandma and grandpa nickname names -- <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/annie">Annie</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/molly">Molly</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/ben">Ben</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/max">Max</a> -- are now borne by new parents, who we predict will turn to vintage nicknames from the "Mad Men" era for their own children, with the most fashionable choices for boys. While <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/don">Don</a> and<a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/dick"> Dick</a> have not yet reemerged, we see a new generation of kids with names like <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/hank">Hank</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/hal">Hal</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/ray">Ray</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/fay">Fay</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/millie">Millie</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/monty">Monty</a>, and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/lous">Lous </a>of both genders.
The last wave of grandma and grandpa nickname names -- Annie and Molly, Ben and Max -- are now borne by new parents, who we predict will turn to vintage nicknames from the "Mad Men" era for their own children, with the most fashionable choices for boys. While Don and Dick have not yet reemerged, we see a new generation of kids with names like Hank and Hal, Ray and Fay, Millie and Monty, and Lous of both genders.

Ethnic Name Group Most Likely to Rise: Scandinavian

Sure, Latin names are sexier and French names have more chic, but baby namers are beginning to appreciate the distinctive charms of the Scandinavian, inspired by a combination of <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/siri">Siri</a> and Stieg Larsson.  Some names have been introduced by celebrities, like <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/stellan">Stellan</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Viggo">Viggo </a>and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/liv">Liv</a>, others by starbabies such as <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/kai">Kai</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/magnus">Magnus</a> (there was one born to Elizabeth Banks just this week), and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/axel">Axel</a>, but there are other appealing choices as well, including <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/freya">Freya</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Linnea">Linnea</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Signy">Signy</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Astrid">Astrid</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Soren">Soren</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Leif">Leif</a>, and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/lars">Lars</a>.  In the Christmas 2013 "Hobbit" movie, one of the major characters is named Thorin.
Sure, Latin names are sexier and French names have more chic, but baby namers are beginning to appreciate the distinctive charms of the Scandinavian, inspired by a combination of Siri and Stieg Larsson. Some names have been introduced by celebrities, like Stellan and Viggo and Liv, others by starbabies such as Kai, Magnus (there was one born to Elizabeth Banks just this week), and Axel, but there are other appealing choices as well, including Freya, Linnea, Signy, Astrid, Soren, Leif, and Lars. In the Christmas 2013 "Hobbit" movie, one of the major characters is named Thorin.

Name Trend That’s Jumped the Shark: Double L Names

At first they seemed irresistibly lilting -- all those lovely girls’ names that doubled up on the L sounds: <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Lily">Lily</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Lila">Lila</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Lola">Lola</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Leila">Leila</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Layla">Layla</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Lillian">Lillian</a>.  But we suspect that tongues are getting tired of reaching up for all those L’s and that the trend has passed its tipping point.
At first they seemed irresistibly lilting -- all those lovely girls’ names that doubled up on the L sounds: Lily, Lila, Lola, Leila, Layla, Lillian. But we suspect that tongues are getting tired of reaching up for all those L’s and that the trend has passed its tipping point.

Freshest Botanical Names: Wildflowers

Baby namers have started to turn from cultivated gardens and look to the fields where flowers grow wild.  Hottest of these at the moment are <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/clover">Clover</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/poppy">Poppy</a>, along with uncultivated tree names <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/juniper">Juniper</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/maple">Maple</a>. For the adventurous, there are choices like <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/thistle">Thistle</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/dandelion">Dandelion</a>, and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/buttercup">Buttercup</a>. The herbal names from "The Hunger Games" are also influential, but more <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/rue">Rue</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/primrose">Primrose</a> and less <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/katniss">Katniss</a>.
Baby namers have started to turn from cultivated gardens and look to the fields where flowers grow wild. Hottest of these at the moment are Clover and Poppy, along with uncultivated tree names Juniper and Maple. For the adventurous, there are choices like Thistle, Dandelion, and Buttercup. The herbal names from "The Hunger Games" are also influential, but more Rue and Primrose and less Katniss.

Coolest Direction in Naming: North

Seasonal names have taken on a wintery chill. <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/winter">Winter</a> (used by Gretchen Mol) itself is sounding fresher than <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/summer">Summer</a> or <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/autumn">Autumn</a>, and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/march">March </a>and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/january">January</a> are moving in on <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/may">May</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/june">June</a>.  We’ve also been seeing <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/snow">Snow</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/frost">Frost</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/north">North</a> itself, especially as middle names, and we predict there’ll be more crisp and nippy names ahead.
Seasonal names have taken on a wintery chill. Winter (used by Gretchen Mol) itself is sounding fresher than Summer or Autumn, and March and January are moving in on May and June. We’ve also been seeing Snow and Frost and North itself, especially as middle names, and we predict there’ll be more crisp and nippy names ahead.

Consonant of the Moment: W

<a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/william">William</a>, of course, has been a stalwart in the baby name world for centuries, but other names sharing that initial have lagged behind.  Now suddenly there is a flurry of long-neglected W-names resurfacing.  For boys, there are <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/west">West</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/weston">Weston</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/wesley">Wesley</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/warren">Warren</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/walker">Walker</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/walter">Walter</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/winston">Winston</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/wilson">Wilson</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/wilder">Wilder</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/wylie">Wylie </a>and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/wyatt">Wyatt</a>, and for girls, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/willa">Willa</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/willow">Willow</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/winter">Winter</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/winnie">Winnie</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/waverly">Waverly</a>, and even clunky <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Wilhelmina">Wilhelmina</a> is back on board after being chosen recently by Natalie and Taylor Hanson.
William, of course, has been a stalwart in the baby name world for centuries, but other names sharing that initial have lagged behind. Now suddenly there is a flurry of long-neglected W-names resurfacing. For boys, there are West, Weston, Wesley, Warren, Walker, Walter, Winston, Wilson, Wilder, Wylie and Wyatt, and for girls, Willa, Willow, Winter, Winnie, Waverly, and even clunky Wilhelmina is back on board after being chosen recently by Natalie and Taylor Hanson.

Most Surprising Comeback Name: Etta

Surprising and yet logical.  We have seen the progression of top girls’names shift from <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/emily">Emily</a> to <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/emma">Emma</a> to <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/ella">Ella</a>, so <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/etta">Etta </a>makes sense as a successor.  She was a Top 100 name at the end of the nineteeth century, falling off the list in 1966, but the recent death of the great blues singer Etta James brought her name back into the spotlight, inspiring at least one celeb -- Carson Daly -- to use it for his daughter.
Surprising and yet logical. We have seen the progression of top girls’names shift from Emily to Emma to Ella, so Etta makes sense as a successor. She was a Top 100 name at the end of the nineteeth century, falling off the list in 1966, but the recent death of the great blues singer Etta James brought her name back into the spotlight, inspiring at least one celeb -- Carson Daly -- to use it for his daughter.

Hottest New Celebrity Trend: Keeping Names Secret

There are still many celebs who can’t wait to get that money shot of their five-minute-old baby onto the cover of <em>People</em>, but there is now a growing trend for keeping the name (and sometimes even gender) of famous offspring private for a long period of time -- if not permanently.  We still don’t know, for example, the names (or sex) of Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyers’s twins or that of Sarah Michelle Geller and Freddie Prinze Jr’s son.  Uma Thurman waited three months to leak the names of her daughter <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/rosalind">Rosalind</a> Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson -- though maybe it took her that long to configure them.
There are still many celebs who can’t wait to get that money shot of their five-minute-old baby onto the cover of People, but there is now a growing trend for keeping the name (and sometimes even gender) of famous offspring private for a long period of time -- if not permanently. We still don’t know, for example, the names (or sex) of Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyers’s twins or that of Sarah Michelle Geller and Freddie Prinze Jr’s son. Uma Thurman waited three months to leak the names of her daughter Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson -- though maybe it took her that long to configure them.

Trendiest Name Length: The Long and the Short Of It

Goodbye <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/jayden">Jayden</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/ashton">Ashton</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/ava">Ava</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/emma">Emma</a>: the cutting-edge parent today is much more interested in a single-syllable name or one that has three or even four syllables. On the rise: the short and sleek <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/cole">Cole</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/zane">Zane</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/eve">Eve</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/may">May</a>; and at the other end of the spectrum: <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/macallister">Macallister</a> (choice of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer), <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/penelope">Penelope</a> (new non-K Kardashian name), <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/arabella">Arabella</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/theodora">Theodora</a>.
Goodbye Jayden, Ashton, Ava and Emma: the cutting-edge parent today is much more interested in a single-syllable name or one that has three or even four syllables. On the rise: the short and sleek Cole, Zane, Eve and May; and at the other end of the spectrum: Macallister (choice of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer), Penelope (new non-K Kardashian name), Arabella and Theodora.

Nameberryis the baby name website created by Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz, authors of ten bestselling books on names including"Cool Names for Babies"and"The Baby Name Bible."

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.