Christmas Names: Beyond Nicholas and Noel

By Elisabeth Wilborn

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 Texas.  To help quench your baby name thirst, check out her blog exclusively devoted to names, youcantcallitit.com.

OUR WARMEST WISHES FOR A VERY HAPPY HOLIDAY TO ALL YOU NAMEBERRYITES FROM LINDA & PAM !!
holly

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17 Responses to “Christmas Names: Beyond Nicholas and Noel”

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nmp233 Says:

December 24th, 2009 at 10:00 am

Nicely done, as always, Elisabeth. 🙂

I am a Christmas Eve baby with the given name: Nicole Marie. Being born in the 1980’s my name was popular and almost never associated with the Holiday. It wasn’t until I went off to college that people started asking if my name was a tribute to the season. It had never occurred to me that it could have been. It ends up I was named after a friend of my parents, Nikki, and a maternal figure in my mother’s life, Marie. I was also born over a week late so they never considered having a baby so close to Christmas. I guess it was subconscious naming on their part. 😉

Happy Holidays!

Lola Says:

December 24th, 2009 at 10:10 am

I love this list! 🙂

The only name I can think of that’s missing is Tiffany. Dated, perhaps but using it on a child born on Epiphany is old tradition. On either a boy or a girl! I’ve always found Tiffany appealing when used in the right context.

If I had Xmas babies, one of each, they’d be Felix & Jemima. As is, my partner was a New Years Eve baby himself. I think that’s enough Holiday for me. 🙂

Happy Holidays to all & Have a lovely New Year!

lis09 Says:

December 24th, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Callum is also a dove name.

Annabelle Says:

December 24th, 2009 at 6:37 pm

I have a cousin born on Christmas Eve who was given the name Josie Noel. Pretty, and understated.
Merry Christmas!

Jane Says:

December 24th, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Thanks for putting this up again! I love this blog, and I think it would make a nice Nameberry trandition. 🙂

Two Christmas names I’d like to suggest:
Shepherd–after the shepherds from the Christmas story
Luz–it means “light”. Not to mention Lucille, Luciana, Luzia, etc.

Merry Christmas!!

SarahinJune Says:

December 25th, 2009 at 1:48 pm

How about Eben as a standin for Ebenezer? It epitimizes the spirit of Christmas for me.

susan Says:

December 26th, 2009 at 11:28 am

I love Josephine, Clara, and Theodore the most! And Claire. Love the different categories of Christmas names.

Bonnie Says:

January 2nd, 2010 at 11:29 am

Love my new granddaughter’s name – chosen for other reasons than Christmas, but also sounds like an updated Christmas name IMO – Harper Redding. Harper, her fave name conjures up image of Christmas carols and angels, and Redding is a family surname as well as her favorite color ‘red’.

Lauren Says:

February 23rd, 2010 at 11:42 pm

hey. I just found out that Leon is noel backwards, so if you had twins they could be anigrams; and if you want a hidden Christmas meaning it works when you have a boy

Tiana Says:

May 14th, 2010 at 8:38 am

What about Simeon and Anna?

These were the prophet and prophetess who proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah when Mary and Joseph brought him to the temple on the eighth day.

Or Micah, the prophet that foretold that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem?

DiDi Says:

June 27th, 2010 at 8:37 am

I have recently found a woman named Miciah, which I think is pretty. (Not Micah!)

I would be careful of naming a child Shepherd simply because so many people name their dogs Shep.
OK, I think Eben is kind of cute, but not Ebenezer simply because of the Dickens’ character named Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Chistmas Carol.” Go with Eben instead (imo).

I think that Caroline is very pretty for a little girl. You could call her Carrie or Cara or Carol as a diminutive.

DiDi Says:

June 27th, 2010 at 8:51 am

I just remembered my favorite baby girl name of Angelique. There should be an accent over the first e. Also, Noelle should have two dots over the first e. (They are both French names).

In my humble opinion, Rudolf and Claus would be better suited to German babies. They are German names and fairly common over there. They also pronounce them a little different. It depends on where you live. But if you live in an area where a child is probably going to be teased because of his name, then I would reconsider. I used to live in Germany. One night, my husband and I were at a nightclub ran by a couple of Americans. I don’t know why, but we started acting silly and were rattling off German names and laughing about naming a future kid we might have with a name like Herman, Gertrude, Wolfgang, Helmut, etc. Well, one of the guys in there said his mom had told him never name a child something they would be ashamed of, or something that you wouldn’t like to be called. I think he made a good point.

Emily Says:

November 15th, 2010 at 5:49 pm

What about Evanageline/Evangelina, or Evangelos/Evangelo/Angelo. Not only do they sound very etherial and angelic, they mean “bringer or bearer of good news.” Kind of the point of Christmas, right?

personalized letter from Santa Claus Says:

November 19th, 2010 at 3:13 am

WOW.i’m so happy that i read your post..at least now i already had a idea on what should i name if i gave birth during Christmas season..thank you..ig the time will come that i already had a baby i prefer to give a name of dorothy which means gift of god..since i want a baby girl:)

WishTrish Says:

July 20th, 2011 at 12:10 am

How about Garland, Cardinal, Spruce, Frank(incense), Beth(lehem), or David (as in Royal David’s City).

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