18 Great Christmas Carol Names

Rudolph, Robin and Frost

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.

AGNESGood King Wenceslas

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.

BARNEYIt’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

As his image pulls away from the friendly purple and green dinosaur, Barney becomes much more viable as a baby choice. It’s been a Top 500 name in England for several years now.

DANCERJingle Bells

One of the most plausible of the Santa reindeer names, though there’s also Vixen, Comet and Cupid.

DIXIEHome 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.

EVEI’ll Be Home for Christmas

Pure and simple yet strong, Eve is part of the trend towards 3-letter single-syllable girls’ names. Currently at #436 nationally, it’s 161 on Nameberry and was chosen by Clive Owen.

FANNYJingle Bells

No longer widely used to mean derriere, Fanny became an acceptable vintage nickname name once more. Jane Austen, George Eliot and Somerset Maugham and many others all created characters named Fanny.

FROSTThe Christmas Song

This new entry into the winter name category has some adventurous parents warming to the cool simplicity of Frost. Jack Frost is only one of many noted bearers of it as a surname.

GLORIAIn Excelsis Gloria

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.

HOLLYDeck the Halls

A perfect Christmassy name, evoking the symbolic red-berried shrub.  Holly is also the flower of the month for December, making it doubly apropos.

ISABELLABring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella

A Top 5 name in the US for the past 14 years. Enough said. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for songmate Jeanette.

IVYThe Holly and the Ivy

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.

JOYJoy to the World

A Christmas baby name Joy.  Perfect!

MERRYWe wish you a Merry Christmas

Even more perfect!

NELLIEJolly Old Saint Nicholas

One of the sweetest of the old Gay Nineties nickname names. It’s #836 on Nameberry, 311 in England and 33 in Sweden.

NOELThe First Noel

What could be more Christmassy than a name that mean Christmas in French? Sleek and sophisticated with the remains of a British accent, Noel ranks at #386 in the US.


Gender-neutral Robin began as a diminutive of Robert, then took off for girls in midcentury America. It’s now getting renewed attention as a bird name.

RUDOLPHRudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

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.

SILASChildren, 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.


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12 Responses to “18 Great Christmas Carol Names”

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oftenoverseas Says:

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.

beynotce Says:

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.

CailinRua Says:

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.

wandsworth Says:

December 21st, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Erm, the fact you’re recommending Fanny really shows how US-centric this site is. Yikes!

Aunt_ning1 Says:

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.

justthinkin Says:

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.

Asherose Says:

December 23rd, 2018 at 2:20 am

Fanny in Australia would be really incredibly rude and obscene. I don’t recommend it to anyone.

Kew Says:

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!

linda Says:

December 23rd, 2018 at 5:52 pm

@Aunt_ning1 @justthinkin @asherose I give in on Fanny!

linda Says:

December 23rd, 2018 at 6:17 pm

@Kew I kind of like Lilwenn!

Kew Says:

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!

LuMary Says:

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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