Baby Name News: Some subtle seasonal choices

December 26, 2011 Linda Rosenkrantz

In baby name news this week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel looks beyond the obvious Christmasy names for some more subtle year’s-end suggestions.

Could the circumstances of your child’s birth influence the name you choose?

There’s been no shortage of seasonal and holiday-themed name articles over the past few weeks.  Surely, if you were whisked to the hospital on the back of a scooter and hadn’t yet settled on a middle name, your daughter could wind up christened Isabel Vespa. But how many parents deliberately choose seasonal appellations for a baby born in December?  Is all that tinsel and mistletoe enough to make names like Merry or Belle seem better than Margaret or Brooke?

Seven years ago, I was due with my first child on Christmas Day.  I can honestly say that, despite a struggle to settle on a middle name, we never considered Rudolph or Winter or Noel.  But if I had it to do over again?

I’ll admit that names like Holly and Ivy might very well make my short list.

Here are eight names that caught my eye from this week’s baby name news, all of them rich with subtle, seasonal style, plus one truly timeless choice from Hollywood royalty.

Shepherd Elea’s Advent Calendar at British Baby Names has proven thoroughly addicting.  This is my favorite so far: Shepherd, a working name with some history of use, one that has lofty spiritual meaning while still feeling rustic and down-to-earth.  Like the idea, but want something even less obvious?  How about Asher, a name Syrian Christians associate with the Biblical flock-watchers.

Alcyone – Nope, that’s not a wacky re-spelling of Allison.  It’s a name from Greek myth suggested by Isadora at Bewitching Baby Names.  The short version is this: Alcyone’s husband died, but the gods had mercy, transforming the couple into a pair of kingfishers – or halcyons.  The birds typically nest in the winter, during a period of calm weather beginning mid-December – peaceful, halcyon days.

Yule Nook of Names published a lengthy list of seasonal appellations.   I find this one intriguing – slightly less obvious than Noel or Natalie, but still a nod to the season.  Then again, Yul – as in Russian-born actor Yul Brenner – is actually derived from the Russian version of Julius, and seems more suited to the month of the actor’s birth – July.

Carnelian – Marginamia suggested the name of this red stone, most likely for a girl.  Carnelian is sometimes listed as a substitute for July’s birthstone, Ruby.  If you’re disappointed to find that Ruby is so popular, I can almost guarantee that you’ll never meet another Carnelian.  She’s outrageous at first glance, but if girls answer to Clementine and Cordelia, Jewel and Gemma, why not Carnelian?

Zuzu Marginamia also mentioned Zuzu Bailey, the little scene-stealer from seasonal cinematic staple It’s a Wonderful Life, as did Linda in Friday’s post.  Top Chef alum Tania Peterson welcomed a daughter called Zuzu Audrey earlier in 2011.  Could this be her year?

Suzu – Sebastiane took a global perspective on the question, sourcing names from a broad range of cultures.  I’m drawn to Suzu, a Japanese name that means bell – and feels appropriately close to little Miss Bailey’s appellation, too!

Courage – It isn’t specifically seasonal, but Anna spotted this one on the baby picked to star in a local Nativity Play – Hosea Courage.  While using the middle name Danger feels like a punch line, Courage seems aspirational, and “neo-Puritan,” to borrow Anna’s description.

Ballerina – Been to the ballet yet this season?  Many families count a holiday trip to see The Nutcracker as a favorite tradition.  Jeremy Sisto gave this frilly, feminine middle name to his daughter – along with the boy first name Charlie.  News that he and wife Addie are now expecting a son prompted a revisit of his daughter’s daring name.

Helen Grace – On the other hand, Robert DeNiro’s choice was as classic as it gets.  He and wife Grace are also parents to son Elliot, and Robert has four children from previous relationships: Drena, Raphael, Julian, and AaronHelena and Elena might be more popular, but there’s something rock-solid – and very appealing – about Helen.

Spotted any interesting names this week?






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