Celebrate with names
For some families, the biggest gift of this holiday season will come wrapped in a receiving blanket.
Babies arrive 365 days a year. As you open presents or toast the new year, someone somewhere is laboring to deliver a child. The confluence of birthday and holiday can inspire parents to memorialize the occasion in a name.
In the United States, several familiar names have strong Christmas connotations. Common choices for yuletide babies:
Natalie/Natalia: from the Latin for birthday. (Think also of the words nativity, pre-natal, etc.) A natural choice to commemorate a birthdate shared with baby Jesus.
Noel/Noelle: The French name for Christmas, from the same root as Natalia.
Nicholas/Nick/Nicole/Nicola: In honor of St. Nick. (The name Santa Claus comes from the Dutch form of Nicholas.)
And some other possibilities:
Jasper/Casper/Gaspar: By tradition, one of the three Magi. (Adventurous parents could also consider Balthazar or Melchior.)
Kris: The Santa moniker Kris Kringle is believed to come from the German Christkindl, "Christ child"
Merry, Joy: From familiar Christmas salutations
Natasha: Russian pet form of Natalia
But Christmas isn't the only holiday that has inspired namesakes. In Jewish tradition, for instance, you can find names linked to days throughout the calendar. During Hanukah, popular contemporary choices include names meaning light such as Leora, Orly and Uri. Judah/Yehuda is also chosen in honor of Judah Maccabee.
Looking ahead to the Spring, a baby born during Passover might be named Eliahu for the prophet Elijah, or simply Pesach ("Passover"). Pesach is also the source of the word paschal ("pertaining to Passover or Easter"), which gave root to the popular Christian names Pascal/Pascual/Pasquale for babies born around Easter. And Easter itself used to be a modestly common English girl's name--during the heyday of Esther, a Purim name.
A New Year's celebration is an especially apt time to welcome a new life's beginning. The New Year starts on different dates in different cultures: Chinese, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim New Years are scattered across the calendar. But for all, some names suggesting fresh new beginnings:
Aurora (Roman goddess of dawn)
Genesis (from Greek for "origin")
Nova (from Latin for "new")
Newcombe/Newman (English surnames meaning new arrivals)
Renata/Renatus/Renee/Rene (from Latin for "reborn")
Sabah (from Arabic for "morning")
Usha (from Sanskrit for "dawn")
Walid (from Arabic for "newborn")
And finally, the date which looms largest on the naming calendar: February 1. The deadline for submitting your predictions to the Baby Name Pool. But no worries, you've already filled out your entry...right?
Thanks for reading, everyone! Wishing you all love, peace and joy.