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thanks for baby names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Later this week, the United States celebrates Thanksgiving.  In simplest terms, it’s a feast, one with a very traditional menu, and a good excuse to head over the river and through the woods to see our loved ones.

But Thanksgiving is also a verb – a time to express gratitude for the best things in our lives.

How perfect, then, to read Sarah Baird’s “I Don’t Have Babies But I’m Obsessed With Baby Names” in The Atlantic earlier this week.

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baby boy names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Let’s say you’re naming a son.

You’re a buttoned-up kind of family, and the classics seem like the right route.

The only problem?

Your nephew is James, your favorite cousin is expecting a Henry, and William is your BFF’s #1 choice.  Charles was a frontrunner, except there’s already a little Charlie two doors down – and she’s a girl.

What’s a parent to do?  Go further back, of course.

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names too close

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

When we decided to call our daughter Clio, we forever closed the door on another favorite name – Theodore, nickname Theo.

Or did we?

For every family that decides Maya and Milo are too similar, another embraces the sound-alike names. Or insists that Alicia and Alina have totally different sounds.

Perhaps it never even occurs to the parents that Joanna and Jackson are both related to John. Or maybe the first time you think of the famous actress is when you introduce your daughter Grace, little sister to Kelly and someone asks if you’re a fan.

Siblings’ names will be said together countless times. The names we like often have much in common. So how can you tell if your choices make for a compatible sibset, or if they’re much too close?

Here are ten factors to consider:

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novel names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

I’m a sucker for tradition.

My personal shortlist is packed with moldy oldies: Caradoc and Marguerite, Edith and Asa.  If forced to choose Jaxon or James, Eden or Elizabeth, I’d go with James and Elizabeth, no question.

And yet there’s something appealing about the idea of choosing a completely novel name for your new arrival.  This week’s high profile birth announcements were all about the modern and the new.

It’s fitting for children who are going to grow up in a new world, one where tablets have always been digital, instead of stone.

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eclectic baby names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

It’s tempting to predict the future.  Difficult, too.

Last week, I stumbled across this 1994 article in the L.A. Times.  Nameberry’s Pam predicted the stylish names of the future would be Felix and Frances, Charlotte and Claire, Hazel and Dexter.

Twenty years later, it’s all come true!

But it’s also become increasingly difficult to imagine what’s next for names, and the most recent high profile birth announcements illustrate why.

In our anything-goes age, possibilities abound.  From Arabella to Zhang, the names parents are choosing make for an eclectic bunch.

And yet there are definite trends to spot and celebrate in this creative and daring age.

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