Grace or Lucy

My top girl's name is Grace Elizabeth while my husband favors Lucy Caroline but we both like each other's picks.  I have a long list of pros for both names.  While we've discussed other names (Theresa, Elizabeth, Caroline, Annemarie, Stella, Mary) Grace and Lucy have been the clear front runners since my last pregnancy with our youngest son.  Our other kids are P@ul, Cl@r3, M@rk, K@th@rin3, J@m3s, and @ndr3w.  The older kids all favor Lucy.  While Grace is my top choice, both dh and I worry that it's a little plain.  My 10 year old described the combo Grace Elizabeth it as 2-scoops of vanilla (said nicely).  This recent blog reinforced all my fears.  Also while Lucy trails Grace in the national statistics in my Catholic circle Lucy and Lucia are both pretty popular picks.  Our last name is Tys0n.



December 2, 2015 4:30 PM

I personally prefer Grace Elizabeth. It perfectly fits with the simple elegance of your other children's names. (Lucy also sounds nice with the siblings but maybe less formal than the rest?)

Honestly, if both you and hubby are happy with either, perhaps you should meet her first? Once you see her, her name might be clear. 

December 2, 2015 4:34 PM

I prefer Grace Elizabeth too. Did you or your husband get your top choice for your last child? We must have similar tastes because I love all your names. Vanilla = Classic goodness in my book.

December 2, 2015 5:00 PM

My husband is actually on record that he wants us to go with the name I love.  Andrew was probably more his pick, but that was mainly because he has always loved it and I didn't have any boys' names that I truly loved (having mostly gotten my way with our older 3 boys).  So I definitely don't need to convince him, it's more that I see some of the pros of Lucy as well.

December 2, 2015 4:31 PM

I have to admit that while it is very pretty, Grace Elizabeth does seem a bit "vanilla" to me.  I think because Grace & Elizabeth both have such widespread use as filler middle names.

Lucy Caroline is very pretty and both names do strike me as a more exciting.

Any chance you'd consider a compromise and do a bit of mix & match with his favorite and your favorite?  Something like Caroline Grace, Lucy Grace, Grace Lucy, Elizabeth Lucy or Lucy Elizabeth would also be very nice.

December 2, 2015 5:04 PM

Pairing a different middle name with Grace does seem like the obvious solution.  I just haven't found one that I truly like and has any meaning.  (The Feast day of Our Lady of Grace is the same date as the Feast of the Visitation which connects Mary to her cousin Elizabeth).  But maybe I need to go with a combo that I don't love quite as much to perk Grace up.  I wouldn't go with Lucy as a middle though just in case we have another girl down the road.

December 2, 2015 4:36 PM

I don't think Grace is plain. 

I think it's elegant and simple, like a little black dress. It's actually a very similar feel for me as Cl@re.

I also love the meaning.

It is very popular in my particular circle, and it is a popular mn, which I think may be part of why it strikes some people as plain.

I also adore Lucy. I have a slight prefernce fo Lucia, as Lucy is a tad on the young side for me. I would use it as a nn/call name, though. Just darling.

I think Grace goes a tad bit better with the rest of your brood. I'm certain there is a Catholic collection to Lucy I don't know (Lifelong Lutheran here), but Grace strikes me as the more obviously religious of the two (though there are plenty of non-religious Graces, I'm sure. Lutherans, as you may know, are rather big on Grace). Anyway, all that is just me talking....

In sum: You have the happy predicament of having two beautiful choices. I might go ahead and let the older siblings cast the vote for Lucy. Letting the brothers and sisters have a say sounds like a fine tie breaker to me.



December 2, 2015 5:27 PM

St. Lucy/Lucia is venerated by Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Anglicans, and, yes, Lutherans.  Her feast day is December 13, coming right up.  Because her feast is at the time of the winter solstice (old calendar) and because of the meaning of her name. her feast day is celebrated as a festival of light.  While St. Lucy has special commemorations in many areas. her festival is particularly popular in (Lutheran) Scandinavia where little girls wear wreaths of candles in St. Lucy's honor.  The derivations of Lucy and Clare share a semantic field--light, brightness, clarity--while Katherine is associated with purity, which is probably not really the origin of the name.

December 2, 2015 5:31 PM

Exactly.  We make a big deal out of the kids' feast days which is a major argument in favor of Lucy over Grace.

December 2, 2015 6:24 PM

A little Lucy would probably get a big kick out of coming to breakfast wearing a wreath of lighted candles.  I have seen such wreaths for sale with safe LED lights, no longer a need to worry about setting hair afire.

December 2, 2015 7:21 PM

St. Lucy's traditional iconography shows her with a plate on which sit eyeballs, less cool.  Of course, many saints have grisly iconography like St. Laurence grilling on his griddle or St. Sebastion stuck with arrows or St. Agatha with her double mastectomy.

December 2, 2015 7:27 PM

Years ago my friends little girl (like 2 years old) dressed up as St. Lucy for an All Saint's Day party, and she carried around a plate with 2 eyeballs on it.  Very memorable.

December 3, 2015 4:30 PM

Frankly, I think all of these gristly iconographies are apt to resonate particularly well with children of a certain age (and beyond). Maybe not as picturesque for the parents or small children, but once you hit school age a plate of faux eyeballs would be regarded as a particularly awesome Halloween prop... at least by school-age children of my acquaintance, who perhaps have a very refined taste for the macabre. If we were a family celebrating feast days, we'd absolutely make little Lucy a personalized plate to suit at those "paint your own pottery" places.

December 3, 2015 4:39 PM

I do remember the time when my son and his buddies reveled in the scatological and otherwise gross.  Even my little grandson likes zombies.  So Lucy's eyeballs cool, Agatha's severed breasts, perhaps not so much.

December 2, 2015 7:05 PM

Thanks, Miriam. 

I'm quite familiar with St.Lucia's Day, but it just didn't register with me. 

I don't ever remember having any recognition of saints in my various congregations other than acknowledging the day in the bulletin, but I have never gone to a very, "High church," brand.

The prospect of candle wearing does make me want to cast another vote for Lucy, op. :)

The shared meaning is also delightful. 


December 2, 2015 7:28 PM

The Lutheran denomination does recognize saints and sainthood, and some churches are dedicated to saints (St. Michael's, St. John's, St. Peter's, St. Andrew's and so forth), although Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox churches dedicated to saints are much more common.

By rooo
December 2, 2015 4:43 PM

I would prefer Lucy because I find Gr@ce and Cl@re really similar. Even though they sound different, it's the same letter structure (which I think makes them great twin names, btw). I might suggest Lucy Elizabeth as a compromise of your two favorites.

I might suggest reconsidering Theresa as well, or Tess/Tessa. I think it goes well with your sib-set and while recognizable is a bit unexpected.

December 2, 2015 5:11 PM

I agree that Grace and Cl@re are similar.  It was actually our girl name for M@rk and I've since been glad that we didn't get a chance to use it then as it might have been a hard pattern to follow.  In this case, the girls would be 12 years apart so I'm not sure it's that big a deal. 

By mk
December 2, 2015 4:48 PM

I prefer Lucy. I agree Lucy Grace or Lucy Elizabeth also work well as a combination of the two.

December 2, 2015 8:25 PM

I know a young Grace with a little brother Paul. There's absolutely nothing wrong with plain vanilla, especially when done well, and I think the biblical cousin link between Grace and Elizabeth is an example of plain vanilla done very well indeed. :-)

That said, I agree with previous comments that St. Lucy's feast day is the coolest.

December 2, 2015 9:31 PM

I prefer Grace for a very simple reason. All of your names have the letter 'a' in them. Lucy doesn't and therefore doesn't go that well with the rest of the family. Maybe too much logic applied to a decision that shouldn't be rational but made from the heart - but that was my first thought when I read this.


December 3, 2015 2:35 PM

I did notice all the @s.  Since none of our final boy contenders (Peter, Jude, Henry, John) have any "A"s I'm thinking I shouldn't let it be a factor in Lucy vs. Grace.

December 2, 2015 11:53 PM

I know sisters named Mary Grace, Caroline, and Lucy, so those names already go together in my head. I prefer Grace to Lucy, but if you were to go with Lucia, it would be a tie. You might just want to wait and meet her.

December 3, 2015 2:33 PM

That is a beautiful set of girls!  My real first choice for a girl's name would be Mary Grace but my son Mark is firmly opposed.

December 3, 2015 12:15 AM

I definitely prefer Lucy Caroline, I think it's spunkier and more fun. It also has more nicknames, Lu or Lulu or Cece. Also it's nice if all the other siblings have a special day for their name, it would be nice for her to have one, too!

December 3, 2015 10:51 AM

All Catholic names have feast days. They just don't all have fun Scandinavian festivals of light and candle wreaths associated with them.

(In Hungary and many other European countries, the concept of feast days has been secularized into name days. Some of them, like Lucy/Lucia on Dec. 13th, are basically universal, while the more obscure names can get assigned to five different days in five different calendars.)

December 3, 2015 11:07 AM

Yes, there are a number of saints' feast days which are more or less universally celebrated.  St. Nicholas Day is coming up--December 6, and all over the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, etc., children will put out their shoes Saturday night and retrieve them in the morning full of gifts.  Shoes, stockings, feet....And everyone in the US takes note of St. Patrick's Day--you don't have to be either Catholic or Irish to drink green beer and go to the parade.

December 3, 2015 4:21 PM

It's funny: I just finished making little St. Nick treat bags for the class at preschool, and the accompanying card reads in part: "instead of stockings on the mantel, he puts them in your Sunday shoes on the windowsill."

Other name-days or feast-days that I think are universal: Valentine (Feb. 14), Stephen (Dec. 26), Sylvester (Dec. 31). These are just the ones I remember without looking anything up.

December 3, 2015 4:04 AM

I like both names but wanted to mention that I know  a little Grace and they call her Gracie. It's cute on her and adds a little spunk that you're looking for.

December 3, 2015 2:30 PM

My husband would for sure call her Gracie and you're right that does spice things up a bit.

December 3, 2015 11:46 AM

I think if you like to make a fuss of the kids' Saints Days that you can't go wrong with Lucy. I would look forward to that all year if I was a kid!

December 3, 2015 2:31 PM

I really appreciate the replies.  Great arguments for both sides.  I do like them both a lot -- too bad we aren't having twin girls. 

December 3, 2015 4:50 PM

Ohh I love them both! I was just reading about St. Grace of Lerida...Our Lady of a Grace is awesome too...and I love it with Elizabeth. If you wanted to make it less "vanilla," maybe Grace Isabella? It retains the meaning while being a bit unexpected. Or Grace Elise, Grace Eliza, or maybe a middle to do with John the Baptist rather than his mother--it retains the connection to the Visitation but offers other options, like Grace Joanna. I also love the idea of something like Grace Immaculata/Grace Immaculee.

Lucy Caroline is so great, it does have a spunkier feel, and can you beat eyeballs on a plate?! They're both great options!

December 3, 2015 5:05 PM

Really good ideas.  My husband who is very easy going with the whole name decision has firmly vetoed Immaculee. Grace Isabella is pretty though.  The connection to St. John the Baptist is a great idea especially as I'm due on June 27 so could very well have her (if it's a her) near the feast of his nativity on June 24 and my 20 week ultrasound is scheduled for Ash Wednesday.

December 4, 2015 1:28 PM

I'm curious--is it more fun as a kid to have a saint's/name day close to your actual birthday, or is it better if it's at a different time of year, to spread the celebrations out? I can see it going either way, not having personal experience.

December 4, 2015 2:12 PM

You know traditionally parents would picked their child's name based on the saint who's feast day was celebrated that day.  In our case most of our children's feast days are separated from their birthdays by several months (except for my daughter Katharine) and it certainly is nice for them to get an additional special day during the year.  I'm due at the end of June and one of our top boys names is Peter who's feast day happens to be very close to my due date.  However, Peter being so important has an additional feast day in February that I could see us using instead.  Besides Peter and Paul (the name of my oldest son) share a feast day and I'm sure my kids would prefer 2 celebrations to 1.

December 4, 2015 3:37 PM

Definitely separate is better. I always felt sorry for the kids who had their birthdays on their namedays -- I know it's a traditional way of choosing a name, but it means you only get one celebration. (Granted, the celebrations are different, and tend to correlate with age: birthdays are celebrated by children, for whom getting older counts as a good thing; they get presents and a cake with candles. Namedays are celebrated more by adults, because there's no concept of aging attached, and they generally involve booze, some flowers, and maybe a special dessert.)

January 19, 2016 1:57 PM

Okay, guys this baby sure looked like a girl at the doctor's yesterday!  

Grace and Lucy are back to their perches on the top of our list. Husband is eager to give me Grace so I think what I need is some more middle name ideas.  For although I love the first name Grace, I am more enchanted with Lucy Caroline as a combo. Middle name ideas need to be pretty traditional.  I had come up with Grace Odette and while my 12 year old thinks it's divine; my husband was not having anything to do with it. I emailed him some other ideas Olivia, Victoria, Veronica, and Felicity (which seems a bit much with Grace), but he has yet to respond -- that silly work thing getting in the way of important name decisions.

Any ideas out there?

January 19, 2016 6:20 PM

Grace Alexandra

Grace Isabella

Grace Vivian

Grace Adeline

Grace Evelyn

Grace Annabel

Grace Camilla

Grace Helena

Grace Lillian

Grace Jacqueline

Grace Rosalind

Grace Regina

Grace Penelope

Grace Valentina

Grace Lydia

Grace Josephine

January 21, 2016 7:26 PM

Babsiekay has a lot of great suggestions (my favorites are Grace Alexandra and Adeline).

To add to her list:

Amelia, Emilia, Emily, Eleanor/Elinor, Evangeline, Rosamund, Imogen, Eloise (if you're into similar endings), Margaret, Madel(e)ine, Matilda, Mirabel(le), Victoria, Caroline (why not?), Violet, Genevieve, Adrienne/Adrianne, Adrianna.

January 22, 2016 1:16 AM

If your actual name is Laura, and you haven't already used it, I think mom's middle name, or a variation, would be a fine choice for baby #7. 

Grace Laura, Grace Lauren, Grace Laurel.....

I also think Grace Lucia or Grace Lucille would be lovely.

January 22, 2016 11:01 AM

Well, we sort of used it.  One of my boys middle name's is Lawrence, but we have a lot of Lawrence's in the family -- I was named for my dad and it coincidently is my husband's and FIL's middle name as well - so the honor to me is diluted.  Laura doesn't tend to flow well in the middle so I haven't really considered Grace Laura.  

January 19, 2016 2:22 PM

Lucy Caroline is so, so pretty! It's my favorite name for you.

January 19, 2016 4:22 PM

If Elizabeth was your original favorite middle with Grace but you want to go slightly less "vanilla," do you have any interest in one of the many Elizabeth variants? There are so many beautiful options out there. One of the Lilian-type names would be very pretty, and still fairly traditional; you could go more exotic with something like Elizaveta or Liana; more biblical with Elisheva; etc. Some of the more exotic options might seem less-so if you have family heritage from the source language (e.g. Elixabete if you're Basque or Alzbeta if you're Czech).

You can see a fairly comprehensive list of Elizabeth-cognates and cognate nicknames here:

January 21, 2016 2:06 PM

How about Grace Annaliese

January 22, 2016 5:04 AM

Is there a reason you're not going for Lucy Grace or Grace Lucy?  Maybe more kids down the road?

Also have you considered Lucy-Grace as her first name?  That is totally do-able, and very pretty.

fwiw, I like Grace much better than Lucy.



January 22, 2016 11:04 AM

More kids down the road would be great though I'm not banking on it.  I think we find Grace and Lucy a little "s" heavy with our last name so using them both hasn't really made for a pleasing combo.  Also I almost don't want to waste Grace in the middle.  I actually love Caroline as Lucy's middle name in part because we can't really use Caroline as a first name with a Clare in the house.  Other's may be able to do it but I say Claroline every time I even think of using it.

January 22, 2016 9:49 PM

Grace Annaleise might be a possibility.  Not sure about all 3 names having /s/ sounds.

January 23, 2016 8:48 AM

If you would like to avoid a middle with an /s/ sound but like Elizabeth and Annaliese, I would look for a name that is similar and also long but without the /s/ sound.  One that came to find is Bethany, because I know you like Biblibal names and it has a "Beth" in it.

Grace Bethany

Bethany is a place name referenced in John 11:1.

Also perhaps Grace Anna

Anna is of course only 4 letters but is 2 syllables. I love the story of Anna in the Bible, found in Luke 2:36-38. Anna is named as a prophetess. Another woman names as an early follower of Christ is Julia.  

Grace Julia

 (She is briefly referenced in Paul's letter to the Romans - Romans 16:15-17)

I know you thought about Mary or Maria for a first name. How about using a Mary name for Grace's middle?

Grace Marie

Grace Maria

Grace Mary

Grace Marta

or - something very not vanilla - Grace Magdalene - one of Christ's  followers . Mark 16:9 

best wishes!!