He's Making a List, He's Checking it Twice

Dec 12th 2013


The Christmas season is full of joy, giving, and name lists. In the past I've shared my fascination with Santa's list of "good boys and girls" in a Rudolph the Red-Nost Reindeer book. I also torment my family by stopping to ponder store displays like this vintage-style Santa:

And I've wasted more time than I'd like to admit over these lines from the song "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas":

"A pair of Hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney and Ben;
Dolls that will talk and will go for a walk
Is the hope of Janice and Jen"

I've never found those name choices quite satisfying. You can feel the songwriter working backward from the need for rhyming girls and boys, while the lyric cries out for Mid-Century Normative Child names. It seems to me that it should have been "Bobby and Bill" yearning for the pistol and "Judy and Jill" for the doll (and to heck with "Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again").

Yet even today, when such 1950s vintage Christmas songs count as "classics," the champion of all yuletide name lists remains the one allegedly penned by Clement Clark Moore in 1823:

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blixen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

In the seasonal spirit of name lists, I offer a 21st-Century rendition:

Now, Skylar! now, Stryker! now Ryker and Jaxon!
Now, Cabot! now, Copland! now Sawyer and Paxton!
To the top of the charts! be the belles of the ball!
Name stylishly, to the envy of all!


December 12, 2013 11:44 PM

Perfect choices!

December 16, 2013 1:22 PM

My favorite name-obsessed Christmas pastime is looking at all the names in the Shutterfly and Tiny Prints catalogues.  Their sibsets are really good!  It makes me wonder whether they get the names on the cards from their real customers (explaining how they are so on-trend) or just have a really good in-house name enthusiast!  Laura, definitely a place to do some name research for the next edition of BNW!

For example, just from the cover of the Shutterfly catalogue:

Christina & Chloe

Claire & Benjamin

Carlie, Davis & Ava

Tyler & Parker

Emmy, Jack & Owen

December 16, 2013 6:45 PM

You might be interested in this too, Laura- as a German-speaker, I was convinced it was Donner and Blitzen (Thunder and Lightning) but I see there's much more to the story than that!


December 21, 2013 7:51 PM

As a small child I always found Santa very creepy. An overweight elderly guy who watches you in your sleep and knows when your awake sneaks into your house at night somehow through a chimney, steals your snacks and then proceeds to put toys under your tree. Creepy. I was very... imaginitive as a child and could barely sleep on Christmas Eve nights for fear of Santa Clause kidnapping me. Anyway, I love the reindeer names Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen and Comet. Timeless, if only for their association with Santa. Like your remix, though. Cute.