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!!