It’s the most wonderful time of the year! If you’re expecting a son right around December 25th, these Christmas boy names bring the holiday spirit. And best of all? Many of these Christmas baby boy names rank outside of the current US Top 500.
Many of these Christmas boy names celebrate the season more quietly. In fact, you might have to explain why these choices are perfect for the winter holiday season – but once you know, well you know that these names are rich with Christmas cheer.
Not sure if you’re expecting a son or a daughter? The girls’ list can be found here.
And if you’re thinking of something that’s more wintry, rather than holiday-inspired, this list might appeal.
Whether you’re after a surprising first name or a spirited, seasonal middle to celebrate the Christmas season, these names deliver.
In another generation, Angela was a Top 100 favorite, while Angel languished unused. But now Angel outranks them all – Angela, Angelo, Angelina, and so on. The name’s popularity in the US reflects the name’s global popularity, particularly in Spanish-speaking countries. It’s not exclusively a seasonal choice, but it fits with Christmas boy names.
The Nativity story includes three Wise Men, kings from the east, traveling to find the newborn Jesus in his manger. Their names are not recorded in the Bible, but we customarily call one of them Balthazar, also spelled Balthasar with an S. It’s a big, unwieldy name, but actor Balthazar Getty makes it more familiar.
Bing Crosby first crooned “White Christmas” way back in 1942, making his name a musical reminder of the season. It’s the most recorded Christmas song of all time, even winning an Oscar, since it was originally recorded for the Irving Berlin movie Holiday Inn. Bing was born Harry, and while stories about how he got his nickname vary, it appears to be short for Bingo, inspired by a comic strip character when he was young. Kate Hudson has a Bingham called Bing, which might make it feel more accessible for boys born today.
Buddy is more nickname than formal name, but it’s undeniably a seasonal favorite. In 2003, Will Ferrell starred as Buddy in Elf, playing a human who had stumbled into Santa’s sack as an infant, and grown up at the North Pole, believing he was one of Santa’s own. Years later, he finds out the truth and travels to New York. Hilarity ensues. It’s more than enough to cement Buddy on the list of Christmas boy names.
CANE (unranked; Kane #360; Cain #916)
A surname name with multiple meanings and origins, Cane – or Cain or Kane – offers a stylish sound. But it also brings to mind candy canes, putting it on this list.
This is the second of the three Wise Men to appear on this list of Christmas boy names. Americans probably think of Caspar as better suited to Halloween, thanks to long-running comic strip character Casper the Friendly Ghost. But across Europe, in various spellings, the traditional Caspar remains a well-established choice with just a hint of Christmas.
CHRISTIAN, CHRISTOPHER (#73; #56)
No matter the time of year, the name Christian tends to mean “follower of Christ.” Christopher leans a little more secular, though the meaning – “bearing Christ” – is every bit as religious. But a Christmas baby given a Chris name? That feels about right.
As in the angel from It’s a Wonderful Life. While Clara is a slam dunk on the girl’s Christmas names list, thanks to The Nutcracker, Clarence feels a little more obscure – but still wonderfully in the holiday spirit.
Clement C. Moore penned his way into literary – and Christmas – history with “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” his famous 1832 poem that begins ’twas the night before Christmas. Then come the not-stirring mice, the visions of sugar plums, and eight tiny reindeer. The author does, indeed, meet Santa Claus. Moore’s depiction of the character helped define Santa as we know him today, and helped shape the way Americans celebrate the holiday. The name’s meaning – gentle – seems like a good fit for the season, too.
First written in 1941, “Carol of the Drum” imagines a poor boy summoned to the birth of Jesus. Because he has no gift to offer, the little drummer boy plays music instead. The song caught on in the 1950s. (In fact, Bing Crosby and David Bowie covered it in a famous duet in 1977.) It’s a seasonal staple these days, and makes rock ‘n’ roll Drummer feel like a sweet Christmas choice, too. Design blogger Katy of No Big Dill named her only son Drummer. It’s among the rarest possibilities on this list, but it works nicely.
Fans of A Christmas Carol, that Charles Dickens seasonal staple, will think of Ebenezer Scrooge. But Ebenezer started out as a double name – Eben Ha’azer, meeaning “stone of help,” a Biblical place name. After so many years with Evan in heavy use, Eben seems like an obvious successor. The seasonal spirit? That’s a bonus.
Spell it Alden or Eldon or the musical Elton, of course. Origins and meanings vary, but one possibility is “elves valley.” In names like Camden, the -den means valley; while El and Al often refer to an elf. It’s a meaning that suggests Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole.
The Old Testament proclaimed that the Messiah’s name would be Emmanuel. And so the famous Christmas carol “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” has become a favorite hymn for Advent. More generally, Emmanuel is seen as another name for Jesus. It’s especially popular in Spanish-speaking countries, though it tends to be shortened to Manuel.
What could be more Christmas-y than an evergreen? They’ve been part of winter celebrations since medieval Germany. The custom slowly spread throughout Europe and North America. The Fraser fir is among the most popular varieties of tree for the Christmas season; it’s named for Scottish botanist John Fraser. The surname’s meaning is lost to time, though alternate spellings Frazier, Frazer, and Frasier are all seen. That last one brings to mind long-running television character, Frasier Crane – not especially wintry, but familiar.
Jack Frost is an impish take on Old Man Winter, said to nip at your nose and paint intricate, icy swirling patterns on windows. He’s not exactly a Christmas character, though he’s mentioned in “The Christmas Song” and often appears in seasonal specials. Of course, he’s sometimes the villain, like in the Santa Clause sequel. Jack is far too familiar to feel like a Christmas name. But Frost – hold the character – makes for a wintry choice that belongs with Christmas boy names, too. It’s a nature name, but one with a little extra sparkle for the season.
A favorite name for boys – with Gabrielle, Gabriella, and Gabriela big for our daughters – it’s easy to overlook the seasonal meaning of Gabriel. While he’s among several angels named in the Bible, Gabriel is also the messenger who announces to Mary that she’ll be the mother of Jesus. The figure is a staple of Nativity plays, which puts it on the list of Christmas baby names.
Jimmy Stewart famously plays George Bailey in Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life. Other names inspired by the movie could include Bailey and Clarence … maybe even Bedford for the town where the action takes place?
The surname Hollis means holly trees; just like Hill or Brooks, it was once bestowed on those who lived nearby such a feature. Since Holly (and Ivy) are associated with girls born during the Christmas season, it only makes sense that Hollis appears on the Christmas boy names list. Another fun twist: hip hop innovators Run-DMC recorded “Christmas in Hollis” for a Special Olympics benefit album in 1987. The trio hails from Hollis, Queens – a happy coincidence. As for the name, it fits right in with other preppy picks like Brooks and Wells.
The Latin Gaspar meant treasurer, and by custom it’s the name of one of the Magi. Except American English typically calls this king Caspar rather than Jasper, but they’re both from the same original name, along with Gaspard and Jesper and Gasparo, to list just a few.
Jesse means gift, from the Hebrew name Yishai. In the Old Testament, Jesse is the father of King David – and thus, an ancestor of Jesus, too. It makes this list, though, because of the Christian tradition of the Jesse Tree, a mix of readings tied to specific symbols represented by ornaments. Every day during Advent, an additional ornament is added to the tree.
A rock solid classic, this name is also forever tied to the Christmas season thanks to Mary’s husband, Joseph. Depicted in countless Nativity scenes, the man who raised Jesus as his own is considered a saint. It’s among the most traditional of names across European countries, as well as South and Central America, in forms ranging from Giuseppe to José.
A chart-topping favorite beginning in the 1950s, Kevin remained a Top 100 staple as late as the 2010s. But it makes this list of Christmas boy names thanks to 1990’s enduring holiday comedy, Home Alone. The tale of an eight-year-old boy mistakenly left behind when his family leaves town for the holiday, and how he bests the would-be bandits set on robbing his home, is a classic. Kevin feels a little Dad-name by now, but remains a well-established choice.
In Greek legend, Linus is the son of Apollo, as golden as his dad. It’s the name of an early pope, too. So what puts it on the Christmas boy names list? That’s down to Charles Schultz, creator of The Peanuts comic strip. “A Charlie Brown Christmas Special” debuted in 1965. Among the many highlights is Linus explaining the true meaning of the season to Charlie Brown. In a story that’s all about holiday overwhelm, Linus provides the heart of the tale. He’s a little younger than Charlie and friends, but he’s wise beyond his years. That puts Linus with the Christmas boy names.
It’s not the only account of Jesus’ birth in the New Testament, but the Gospel of Luke is the one that Linus recites in A Charlie Brown Christmas. That means that plenty of the American public – even the non-church-going part – knows this story word for word.
This Old Testament name would make a subtly seasonal choice. That’s becuase it means messenger – or angel. And while few would hear the name Malachi and start singing “Jingle Bells,” it’s enough to add a festive glow to this handsome name.
A Top 250 choice for girls, Marley also has a history of use for boys. That may have more to do with reggae legend Bob Marley and his equally musical children, including son Ziggy. But Marley is an essential plot point in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It’s the ghost of Jacob Marley who tips Ebenezer Scrooge off to the fate that awaits him if he fails to repent.
In the Dr. Seuss holiday classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Max is the long-suffering dog tasked with pulling the sleigh. It’s worth noting that many longer Max names mean that this name is even more popular than a Top 200 rank suggests.
You probably know that the Home Alone schoolboy hero is named Kevin. But his last name might be an even better pick for a stylish choice with a Christmas tint: McCallister. It’s a big name for a baby boy, but easy nickname Mac – or Cal – makes it wearable.
Arguably the ultimate among Christmas boy names, Nicholas is the given name of Santa Claus. Confused? Santa means Saint. Claus is a German nickname for Nicholas. And so Jolly Old Saint Nicholas becomes Santa Claus. Or Little Saint Nick. Traditional Nicholas nods to the season, but updates like Nico could, too.
American parents really like Noelle for a daughter. But Noel works every bit as well. As a masculine given name, Noel rhymes with Cole. But it’s also the French word for Christmas, and when we’re talking about the holiday, it’s two syllables – think of the Christmas carol “The First Noel.” Either way, it’s a seasonal possibility for a Christmas-born boy.
Yes, Kim and Kanye used it for their daughter. But North feels like it belongs with Christmas boy names. It’s as rugged as Ridge or Crew, and North takes it in a wintry direction. Santa, of course, makes his home at the North Pole. And, for much of the world, Christmas and winter feel like one in the same. Expressions like “true north” and associations with the compass make cardinal direction North feel almost like a virtue name, or at least a daring, adventurous one with ties to the winter season.
Strictly speaking, Pax is borrowed from the girls. In Roman mythology, Pax was the goddess of peace. But it rhymes with Max and Jax, plus there’s a Jolie-Pitt son with the name, so it feels masculine. As for why it makes the Christmas boy names list? Pax translates to peace, and it’s one of those Latin words broadly recognized today. Peace isn’t just for the winter holidays, of course, but “peace on earth, good will towards men” feels especially at home at this time of year. It comes up in carols from the most traditional to Snoopy versus the Red Baron.
When it comes to Christmas movies, A Christmas Story is a favorite. For years, American broadcasters TBS and TNT have run “24 Hours of A Christmas Story,” playing the movie on loop from Christmas Eve through Christmas Day. The tale of a family in 1940 Indiana as they prepare to celebrate the holiday, it’s narrated by a now grown-up son Ralphie. (His younger brother is Randy.) Ralph is out of favor today, but something about Ralphie just screams Christmas.
Rudolph may have saved Christmas with his nose so bright, but it feels like a non-starter of a name. But Rudy splits the difference between the old and the new. It still feels vintage – in fact, Rudy peaked back in the 1930s. It shares the spirit of many modern favorites, fitting in with Luca + Theo, Eli + Ryder. Notre Dame fans will think of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, which lends the name an inspirational, feel good vibe. The controversial Rudy Giuliani could rob this name of its retro, festive vibe. But of all the reindeer names, it’s probably the most wearable – at least compared to, say, Blitzen or Comet.
For a generation raised on The Santa Claus and sequels – still going strong on Disney+ – Tim Allen is Santa. Except he’s also a regular guy named Scott Calvin who gets tapped to wear the suit when the previous Santa Claus retires. More Christmas boy names taking inspiration from the beloved franchise: Charlie (Scott’s son), Simon (Scott’s potential successor), Noel, Buddy, and Curtis – to name just a few.
Shepherds feature throughout the Nativity story, and shepherds in the fields appear in many a carol, from “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” to “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” It’s a gentle, hard-working surname name, but also one with spiritual overtones, and a touch of seasonal appeal, too.
Like Fraser, this name is all tree. Also like Fraser, it feels like an on-trend, surname-inspired name, the kind of choice that fits right in with Logan and Tanner and Chase. It means pine – another popular pick for Christmas trees, and has a German origin – just like the Christmas tree custom itself. If that seems obscure, think of “O Tannenbaum,” often translated into English as “O Christmas Tree.” Fun fact: the song was never intended as seasonal. It simply praised the evergreen, steadfast nature of pine trees. And, of course, that’s part of the appeal of tree names. They convey all the ideals that we associate with the natural world. Plus, Tannen also connects us to the Christmas season.
Another name that nods to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Timothy brings to mind Tiny Tim, the young son of Scrooge’s faithful employee, Bob Cratchit. It’s Tim who utters the enduring line from the story: “God bless us, every one!” It would be a traditional choice with a subtle seasonal connection.
Yul – as in Brenner – is cousin to the names Julius and Julian. But add an ‘e’ and Yule is an Old English and Norse word to refer to a winter feast that predates Christianity. Over time, it became associated with Christmas. Now we burn yule logs in our fireplaces, said to bring prosperity and good fortune in the coming year. We also bake special desserts that look like yule logs for our holiday dinner tables. The word filters into the season in lots of subtle ways, too. On some level, I’m not sure Yule makes a very good given name for a child … but then again, Yul is the real deal. So why not this seasonal, spirited choice?
Those are my picks for a dozen daring Christmas boy names. Are there any that you would consider?
First published on December 8, 2020, this post was revised and re-posted on December 4, 2021; September 23, 2022; December 22, 2022; and November 18, 2023.