18 Great Christmas Carol Names
by Linda Rosenkrantz
We’ve moved beyond it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas time as the holiday is fast approaching. The air is filled with carols and other holiday music, from O Tannenbaum and Silent Night to Jingle Bells and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.
But is there any inspiration for baby namers to be found in their lyrics—beyond Rudolph, that is?
Of course, as might be expected, the names found most often are Mary, Maria, Joseph, John, Paul, Emmanuel and Nicholas. But after researching the words of a staggering number of Christmas songs, I did find some usable name options that would work very well as December baby names for a Yuletide babe. Confession: Some of them are used as words rather than names.
The saintly Agnes was one of the most popular namesakes for four hundred years, and now seems to be ready for a comeback, along with cute namesake Aggie. It’s now #227 on Nameberry, was used by Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany for their Agnes Lark, and was a likeable little girl name in Despicable Me. A current bearer is artist Agnes Martin.
DIXIE—Home for the Holidays
A saucy showgirl name with a distinct Southern drawl, Dixie has been on and off the US pop list since 2007 after peaking at #167 back in 1938.
Another comeback kid, Gloria was chosen by Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard for one of their daughters, inspired by the Patti Smith version of the Van Morrison song. It’s currently at #561; Glory is also sometimes used.
HOLLY—Deck the Halls
A Top 5 name in the US for the past 14 years. Enough said. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for songmate Jeanette.
Ivy has been climbing up the charts all over the English-speaking world–#108 in the US (highest ever), 25 in England and Wales, 18 in Australia, 46 in Canada, 59 in Scotland, 64 in Northern Ireland, and 28 in NZ. And Ivy’s name has been heard on everything from Gossip Girl to Downton Abbey to American Horror Story. One influence: Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s use as the middle name for daughter Blue Ivy.
Even more perfect!
What’s the first name that comes to mind when you think of Christmas song names? Rudolph, of course. In the Top 200 till 1939, when German-origin names lost favor. It was long attached to silent screen Lothario Rudolph Valentino, and then ballet great Nureyev. Could it come back? Nickname Rudy would help.
SILAS—Children, Go Where I send Thee
Silas has shed its one-time rural, folksy image to become a hot Nameberry fave (#7) and is also #120 across the country. It gained some starpower when Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake chose it for their boy in 2015.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS, BERRIES!!
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on December 21st, 2018 at 4:16 am
I love Merry! I’m slightly jealous of friends with a daughter named Meredith for this reason (and how can we shift that one back to boys?). Agnes, Silas, and Barney are also great!
But, um, I think you meant Jennifer Connelly, not Jennifer Garner.
on December 21st, 2018 at 8:15 am
Silas and Eve are favorites of mine – but oooh, Dancer! I love that. Stylistically, it slots in nicely next to Piper and Harper (both girls’ names, for me), but I love that it reads genuinely unisex to me.
on December 21st, 2018 at 10:38 am
Dancer? Just NO! It’s a word, not a name and unlike some word names such as Dawn, it doesn’t work.
on December 21st, 2018 at 12:25 pm
Erm, the fact you’re recommending Fanny really shows how US-centric this site is. Yikes!
on December 21st, 2018 at 3:46 pm
Wandsworth, I had the opposite reaction, that there was NO way that Fanny would work in the US, Franny yes, Fanny NO. Its a term for a butt, no one should ever give that to their child in the US these days unless they want massive ridicule.
on December 21st, 2018 at 9:44 pm
Dancer is nice in theory but I feel like there would be pressure to become a dancer. Whereas most today wouldn’t get that from Harper, Piper, etc.
100% agreed that Fanny is unusable. Needs at least a few more decades for that term to fade into oblivion. I think Franzi/Francie have potential though.
on December 23rd, 2018 at 2:20 am
Fanny in Australia would be really incredibly rude and obscene. I don’t recommend it to anyone.
on December 23rd, 2018 at 2:48 pm
I have long loved Gloria as a Christmas name, especially since Ding Dong Merrily On High is one of my favourite carols! Robin is a favourite of mine as well and the carol has a special place in my heart.
I have been dreaming up indirectly carol-inspired names this year, such as Lilwenn for the “blossom as white as the lily flower” in The Holly and the Ivy, or Iscah (meaning “behold”) for “Come and behold Him”. Merry Christmas to all!
on December 23rd, 2018 at 5:52 pm
@Aunt_ning1 @justthinkin @asherose I give in on Fanny!
on December 23rd, 2018 at 6:17 pm
@Kew I kind of like Lilwenn!
on December 24th, 2018 at 6:06 am
@Linda – As you probably know, it’s Breton for white, pure, or holy lily. The Welsh spelling is Lilwen. 🙂 It’s such an ethereal, fairy-like name!
on December 24th, 2018 at 5:13 pm
Agnes with nn Aggie is great.
Noelle with the double ‘l’ spelling has always been a favorite of mine.
Hosanna is very pretty, Ding dong merrily on high, hosanna in excelsis!
Christian is beautiful for a boy or girl. Good Christian men, rejoice! Christiana is a pretty female Christian variant.
David and Nicholas are nice classics. Once in David’s royal city/Jolly old St Nicholas…
Emmanuel. O Come, O Come Emmanuel… Emmanuelle/Emmanuella for a girl.
Angelina, Angelica. Angels we have heard on high…
Bethlehem. O little town of Bethlehem…
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