How To Name Your Christmas Baby

Christmas Baby Names

Guest blogger Elisabeth Wilborn, of the wonderful name blog You Can’t Call It “It”!, treats us to a festival of names for Christmas babies.

Christmas seems to arrive sooner every year. Once again, I am running frantically to cross things off the list, get the baking done, trim the tree (first we have to get that tree…), and find the ever elusive Christmas stockings before it’s too late. Some may have bigger –or smaller– things on their minds this season. An impending birth, perhaps? If your new child shares a birthday with the most famous baby in the world, you may be tempted to incorporate the season somehow into their name. There’s a lot more to holiday baby naming than Nicholas and Noel. Here are a few ideas that might help broaden the list:

Names related to the Holy Family and the birth of Jesus:

Balthasar, Balthazar– One of the Magi

Casper, Gaspard, Jasper– While he doesn’t appear in the Bible, this is also said to be the name (here in several versions) of one of the three wise men

Christian, Christine, Christina, Christopher, Christabel (girl) and Cristobal (boy) – Followers of Christ

Emmanuel for a boy, or Emmanuelle, for a girl

Epiphany– For the celebration just following that commemorates the visit of the Magi

Estelle, Estella, Esther, Seren, Stella– All have meaning related to “star”

Eve– For the night before

Jesus

Joseph, Josepha, Josephine (also cognates Giuseppe and Jozef)

Yeshua– Other versions of the name Jesus

Maria, Mary– The mother. Miriam is also etymologically linked to this name

Melchior– The third king to visit Jesus

Natalia, Natalie– Derived from natal which means “birth”, Natale is the Italian word for Christmas; Natasha is an Eastern European nickname for Natalia

North– After the guiding North Star?

Theodore/a, Dorothea, Dorothy– “Gift of God”

Virginia– There are any number of names that represent the Virgin Mary. Plus you can say to her, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

Names connoting light:

Claire

Clara– Also the little girl in the Nutcracker, who in some versions is referred to as Mary or Maria; her brother is Fritz

Eleanor, Eleanora, Leonor, Lenora, Nora

Helen

Lucia, Lucian, Lucius, Lucy, Lux

The Angelic:

Angel, Angela, Angelica, Angelika, Angelina

GabrielAngel who broke the news to Mary that she was pregnant; Gabriella, Gabrielle

Hermione– “The messenger”

Malachi– “My messenger” or “my angel” in Hebrew

Michael– Another of the seven archangels, and a good choice if your loved one is away in battle, as he is patron saint of soldiers

Serafina, Seraphine– From the highest order of angels, the seraphim, and with the slightly ironic meaning “fiery”

Names that recall the spirit of the season:

Faith, Fidelity

Felicia, Felicity and Felix

Gloria, Glory

Hope

Joy

Merrily, Merry

Pax

Meaning “dove”, the symbol of peace:

Colombe

Columba

Dove

Jemima

Paloma

Greenery:

Berry

Cedar

Celyn- Welsh for “holly”

Elm

Holly

Ivy

Juniper

Pine

(Mistletoe and Poinsettia are other possibilities, though I can’t get behind either one)

Related to the season, as it is in the northern hemisphere:

Bianca, Blanca– “White” in Italian, Spanish

Blanche– French for “white”

EiraWelsh for “snow”

Lumi- Finnish for “snow”

Neige– “Snow” in French

Nevada– “Snow-capped” in Spanish

Nieves– “Snow” in Spanish

Robin

Snow

Solstice

Winter

Yuki, Yukiko– Japanese, “happiness + snow”, and “happiness + snow + child”

YuleWinter festival

For Posterity:

Bell, Belle

Carol

Christmas

Claus, Nicholas, Nicola, Nicole– For jolly old St. Nick

December

Noel, Noelia, Noelle

Rudolf 😉

I wish you all the best if you are naming your little one this Christmas. A great name is one of the best gifts you can bestow. It’s a start, anyway. Happy Holidays!

Elisabeth Wilborn is an artist and writer who lives with her young family in Brooklyn, New York.  To help quench your baby name thirst, check out her blog exclusively devoted to names, youcantcallitit.com.

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12 Responses to “How To Name Your Christmas Baby”

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Nessa Says:

December 16th, 2008 at 1:12 am

What a great list! There’s a ton of names in there that I already loved but never would have connected to Christmas. I have one addition to the seasonal section, Frost, my personal favorite!

Bek Says:

December 16th, 2008 at 10:23 am

Such a comprehensive list! Well done, Elisabeth!!!

realpraise Says:

December 16th, 2008 at 10:28 am

Great list! I am now a follower of your blog, Elisabeth. I have an Elizabeth (Lizzie) of my own!

Meg Says:

December 16th, 2008 at 12:44 pm

Brilliant list! Beautifully done.

I love all your extra detail!! Not to mention I loved so many of the names on the list as well. Great job.

Jess Says:

December 16th, 2008 at 1:00 pm

What a timely and helpful article. I know parents everywhere will appreciate this list. Great job Elisabeth!

susan Says:

December 16th, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Love your list. My brother was born on Christmas and his name was Timothy. When I hear the name Timothy, I always think of him of course, and of Christmas.

Tikicatt Says:

December 16th, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Great list and one other suggestion – Leon. Noel backwards. I had a teacher in high school that was born on Christmas. His middle name was Leon and his sister born on Christmas Eve two years later had the middle name Noel.

I always thought it was great humor.

Elizabeth Says:

December 16th, 2008 at 7:08 pm

I often hear people expecting holiday bundles trying to come up with something inspired. This list has so many great ideas, definitely beyond Natalie and Noel! Bravo, Elisabeth! Jasper and Clara are a couple of my favorites, but there are so many lovely choices, really.

Elizabeth Says:

December 16th, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Merrily and Celwyn are gorgeous, somewhat unexpected choices, too, that struck me!

Elisabeth@YCCII Says:

December 16th, 2008 at 11:06 pm

Post author here, finally getting a chance to write in. Thanks for your enthusiastic comments everyone.

Frost is an interesting suggestion I had not considered. I’d be afraid he might have a chilly disposition, but on the right person it would be really cool. Timothy was an omission I should not have made. I considered it in honor of Tiny Tim, but backed down because I thought it would open the door too wide to every Christmas story and fable. Still, Timothy evokes Christmas for me, too.

Truthfully, spelling a name backwards always reminds me of young kids playing their records backwards to hear satanic verses, so I’m not sure I myself would link Leon with Christmas. It’s a lovely name though, that was on my Summer Solstice list for a baby born in late July or August (in the form of Leonidas there).

Celyn was a new discovery for me this go round. It is gorgeous, isn’t it? The Welsh have a treasure trove of good names. Merrily would work really well in real life, too, I think. It’s got a feminine yet surnamey feel, with glad tidings all wrapped up in a bow. Jasper and Clara are favorites of mine as well, along with Balthazar, Christabel, Hermione and Estelle. I’m on a personal mission to make Hermione more widely used!

I’m glad everyone seems to be enjoying this! It was certainly fun to write. Thanks so much to Pam and Linda for giving me the opportunity.

Roxanna Says:

December 3rd, 2009 at 4:58 am

Thank you for the suggestion of the name North- linking to the North Star. Our son was born December last year and we named him North- we didn’t even think of the significance of the North Star, but are really thankful to have some extra special meaning (other than directional) for his name- that is a wonderful connection to make! We will be keeping a copy of your blog!

Jenn Says:

November 29th, 2010 at 1:46 am

My cousin was born in December, and her parents named her Angeli. I always thought it was beautiful and wonderfully different from Noel. There are some amazing other suggestion on this list. Great job! I particularly love Clara and Gloria, though I would probably never use the latter because so many Christmas songs have it in the chorus. Awkward. And of course I’ve always loved Gabriel.

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