Classics like Mary fit on this list, and virtues like Joy, too. But they’re great names for any season. Some of these are truly tied to the winter holidays, name that make the most sense at the most wonderful time of the year.
Whether they’re familiar or rare, every option brings the festive, with ties to all things magical and hall-bedecking.
If you’re seeking inspiration for something that celebrates the season, start with this list of Christmas girl names!
We love a good nature name, from classics like Lily and Rose, to modern favorites like Willow and River. Amaryllis succeeds because it’s yet another flower name, and it makes the Christmas girl names list because it’s so linked to the season. The bulbs bloom indoors, making them just right for chilly Decembers in the much of the US. And they come in showy, seasonal colors, including bright red and red-and-white candy cane stripes.
Along with elaborated forms like Angelina, Angelica, and Angelique, Angela means “angel.” That makes it just right for a time for year when children everywhere dress up like Choirs of Angels and re-enact the Nativity story.
This surname choice is a very subtle nod to the season. In holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey. He’s down on his luck and considering leaving it all behind, including his loving family – wife Mary, and their kids. That’s not how the story goes, of course, thanks to an angel-in-training and George’s community in the fictional town of Bedford Falls, New York. Bailey isn’t nearly as seasonal as many choices on this list, but no question it’s connected to Christmas.
Bethlehem, the city of Jesus’ birth, could make a great seasonal choice, with built-in nicknames like Beth and Bette. Belén evolved as the Spanish form of the Biblical place name, slightly contracted from the original, but still clearly linked. In English, the temptation might be to rhyme it with Helen, but this name sounds closer to bel EHN. While it’s popular in the Spanish-speaking world, many English speakers may find it brand new.
While Bella – and Isabella, Annabelle, and plenty of other names containing the sound – are fast favorites, the Christmas-y Belle remains uncommon. That could make it the perfect choice for parents looking for spare, just slightly different Christmas girl names. Of course, it’s strongly associated with Beauty and the Beast, which adds some Disney princess glitter to this musical name.
A gift isn’t complete until it’s tied up with a bow. But is Bow a given name? Black-ish introduced us to Tracee Ellis Ross’ character, though there’s a whole backstory. (It’s short for Rainbow, a name chosen by her hippie parents.) Still, with Beau a favorite for boys and Bo long a potential unisex name, it’s easy to imagine Bow wearing well.
Cadeau is the French word for gift. Pronounce it like the ‘ca’ in cat, followed by the do in do-re-mi. That might’ve been outlandish in another age, but this is the moment of Margot and Willow, and, of course, the boy’s name Theo, which all comes from a name meaning gift. It’s possibly the rarest choice on this list, but it would work. (And could make a stunning middle, too.)
It’s hard to separate Carol from the season. We sing Christmas carols. We watch A Christmas Carol – either some version of the original, or updates like Scrooged and Spirited. The Dickens story also gives us the Cratchit family: mom Emily and daughters Martha and Belinda. Scrooge himself was once engaged to a woman named Belle. And Scrooge’s nephew Fred is married to a woman sometimes called Lily and other times named Clara – which is pretty much the perfect Christmas name double-dip.
Chances are you know the scene. The Grinch is busy robbing Whoville of its holiday accoutrements, when a small girl wakes up. Cindy-Lou Who is the only named Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and she’s unforgettable. Formal name Cynthia is a little more common.
The little girl at the heart of The Nutcracker ballet, Clara immediately sounds like a seasonal choice. The Tchaikovsky score is among the best-known pieces of classical music, and the way the toys come to life as the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve. They dance through the night to Christmas Day, an adventure that has delighted audiences for generations. Fun fact: the girl’s name was originally meant to be Marie. Her doll would be called Clara. But the switch was made somewhere between the original story and the stage adaptations, and it has stuck.
Fans of the 1964 television special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer will recognize Clarice immediately. She’s Rudolph’s love interest, loyal to him even when the other reindeer are cruel. The Rankin/Bass stop motion animated special has become a beloved holiday classic, putting Clarice on this list.
The last month of the year comes from the Latin word for ten – decem. (Back in the day, March was the first month of the year.) Names borrowed from the calendar have plenty of potential these days, and we’ve long named our daughters April and June. So perhaps wintry, Christmasy December deserves a closer look.
The Old Testament tells of a savior who will be named Emmanuel – God is with us. The Gospel of Matthew references this story, too. Why Mary went with another name, we cannot know, but Jesus is sometimes called Emmanuel over the ages. Think of the Christmas carols, like “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Emmanuelle is simply the French feminine form, popular there from the 1960s into the 90s.
The Latin stella means star, which makes this a Christmas baby name, either as the French Estelle or Latinate Estella. The latter is also literary, thanks to Estella Havisham in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Estelle belongs to a British singer, a Swedish princess expected to someday become queen, and the late comedian Estelle Getty, known as Sophia from The Golden Girls.
Another name that possibly means star, though this time from Persian, Esther is an Old Testament name worn by a fearless queen. But it’s not just the starry meaning that puts this name on the list. In 1944’s Meet Me in St. Louis, Judy Garland sang the enduring “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” as character Esther Smith.
From a Hebrew name meaning “God is my strength,” Gabrielle makes this list because of masculine counterpart Gabriel. In the New Testament, he’s an angel who explains to Mary what’s to come next, namely the miraculous birth of Jesus. That makes Gabrielle – and Gabriella and Gabriela – sparkle with just a little bit of Christmas baby names magic.
The hymn “Gloria in excelsis Deo” translates to “Glory to God in the highest.” It’s also called the Hymn of the Angels, because it begins with the words the angels sang to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus. Gloria, all drawn out with many extra syllables, is a Christmas staple for many of Christian faith, and seems like a musical standard.
Glory reads like an updated twist on long-established name Gloria. But it’s a little more complicated. Strictly speaking, Gloria is the Latin – and Spanish – word for glory. So let’s just say it’s been around, in one form or another, for ages. Poet Edmund Spenser called Queen Elizabeth I Gloriana; and Old Glory is a nickname for the US flag. But Glory feels specifically religious, too, and very appropriate for this time of year.
Fun fact: Holly Golightly, played so famously by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, was actually named Holiday. In the UK, the word means vacation, but in the US, we tend to say “Happy Holidays,” a greeting that covers the whole winter season. It’s an unconventional choice, but not so different from Delaney and Everly, either. And nickname Holly? That’s quintessential Christmas.
Winter is rough on plants. But holly remains lovely through the darkest, coldest months. That’s why it’s been associated with the season since long before Christmas, a go-to decoration across many centuries. While the name enjoyed a good run of popularity in the 1970s and 80s, Holly is still a promising pick for a Christmas-born daughter.
Just like Holly, Ivy has been associated with winter holidays for ages. There’s even a seasonal carol, “The Holly and the Ivy,” first recorded in nineteenth century England but reflecting practices and beliefs dating into the Middle Ages.
Jovie comes from the word jovial, meaning cheerful. But it’s on this list of Christmas girl names – well, it’s on our radar at all – thanks to 2003 holiday movie Elf, starring Will Ferrell as Buddy, a human raised among Santa’s helpers at the North Pole. Spoiler alert: Jovie ends up as Mrs. Elf. It’s joined the list of modern must-watch Christmas movies, meaning your Jovie would hear her name every December.
An exuberant mini name, Joy isn’t exclusive to Christmas. But the word does come up quite a bit, from secular references to religious songs like “Joy to the World.” It’s happy and bright, and, thanks to Pixar’s Inside Out and the upcoming sequel, Joy may be on parents’ radar.
The name that Home Alone brings to mind is Kevin, for young Kevin McCallister, inadvertently left home by himself while his extended family rushes out the door to catch their flight to France. Kate McCallister realizes their mistake while their flight is in the air. While we tend to refer to her as Kevin’s mom, she’s the one – played masterfully by Catherine O’Hara – that stays with mothers. Sure, Kevin handily defeats the bungling pair of burglars, but Kate hitches a ride in a van carrying a polka band. A traditional favorite with a subtle Christmas twist.
Lucia means light, which makes this an appropriate name for the season. But it’s more than that. The thirteenth century Saint Lucia’s feast day falls on December 13th. The feast has transformed into civic holiday in Scandinavia, complete with public processions and other festivities.
Since the Middle Ages, Lucy has been the traditional English version of Lucia, earning this name a spot on the list for all the same reasons. But Lucy belongs here for another reason: the Peanuts gave us Lucy Van Pelt. The 1965 television special A Charlie Brown Christmas is forever associated with the holiday season, and the Vince Guaraldi Trio soundtrack is a favorite.
The Latin word for light, Lux would fit on the list of Christmas boy names, too. But if you’re after a name that’s rare, seasonal, and gender neutral, too? Lux might be the perfect choice.
Long-time #1 favorite Mary isn’t reserved for the Christmas season, but the Nativity story, featuring Mary, Joseph, and newborn Jesus in the manger, is inescapable at this time of year. Bonus? It sounds like merry.
Maybe Merry is too obvious. But it’s a joyful name. Unlike Mary, it’s always been rare. JRR Tolkien gave the name to a Hobbit in Lord of the Rings; Charles Dickens used it as a nickname for Mercy in Martin Chuzzlewit. Today, it’s more likely to be short for Meredith. As a Christmas-related baby girl name, it’s both obvious and surprising.
NATALIA, NATALIE (#79; #55)
In Latin, natale domini literally means “Christmas day.” That’s the source of this pretty, popular name. Natalia is used in Spanish and Italian; Natalie is French. The most famous bearer of the name, Natalie Wood, rose to fame as a child star in Miracle on 34th Street, among the all-time classic Christmas movies.
Neve can be an Anglicized spelling of Niamh, meaning bright. It’s also the word for snow in Italian and a handful of other languages. Pronunciation varies – the Irish neev, like Eve; nay-vee in Italian; and nehv, like rev. That last one dominates in the US, thanks to Neve Campbell. It’s her mother’s (Dutch) maiden name, meaning nephew. But the ties to wintry snow earn it a place on the Christmas girl names list.
NICOLA, NICOLE (unranked, #322)
Saint Nicholas puts Nick on the boys’ list of Christmas baby names. But Nicole tends to surface as a Christmas-adjacent name for our daughters, too. Nicola, masculine in Italian but feminine in German and English, might be an interesting update.
NOEL, NOELLE, NOELIA (unranked, #211, unranked)
Noel leans masculine and Noelia is seldom heard. Noelle, on the other hand, might be the go-to Christmas girl name of recent years. It’s a flowing middle name choice, as well as an appealing first. Noel is simply the French word for Christmas, made familiar in English thanks to carols like “The First Noel.”
A 1997 children’s book transformed a mondegreen into a charming Christmas tale. A mondegreen is an oft-misheard lyric. In this case, “all of the other reindeer” became “Olive, the other reindeer.” A Christmas-loving dog who happens to be named – what else? – Olive hears it as a call for her to journey to the North Pole and save Christmas. In 1999, the story inspired an animated television special with Drew Barrymore voicing the determined Jack Russell Terrier. It’s sweet, and so much more wearable than naming a daughter Comet or Blitzen.
Christmas greetings are all about love, grace, joy, peace … lots of brief, one-syllable words. Paz is the Spanish word for peace, inspired by the Marian title “Our Lady of Peace.” That makes it a holiday name with spiritual relevance and cross-cultural appeal.
Plum pudding. Sugar Plum fairy. Visions of sugar plums. Strictly speaking, sugar plum candy didn’t always involve plums; it referred to the shape. And plum pudding contains raisins. But it’s an edible name at a moment when we’ve embraced Clementine and Olive and Sage. Plum blends a vintage, festive vibe with all the spirit of modern word names. Plus plum means something especially good, too.
Take Harper, mix in a double scoop of Scarlett, and maybe you’ll find yourself at Silver. Or take Sylvia and update it to a modern, unisex-style word name. Either way, Silver seems like a possibility. The rebooted 90210 introduced us to Silver back in 2008. (It’s the character’s last name.) It didn’t catch on, but this glittery, jingle-bell name captures the spirit of the season perfectly – and subtly, too.
The Latin word for star, a name that works in many different seasons – but undeniably at Christmas-time.
Theodore is so popular among baby boy names, it’s no surprise that feminine form Theodora is rising, too. It makes this list because of the meaning: “gift of God.” Of course, there are lots of names meaning gift to consider – but antique Theodora, with nicknames aplenty, is a particularly promising one.
A 1980s style star, Tiffany feels tied to the same era as Ashley and Crystal. But Tiffany has history you might not expect. It’s the typical Middle English form of Theophania – manifestation of God, or Epiphany. Now celebrated on January 6th, Epiphany is considered the day the Three Wise Men arrived at the manger to celebrate the birth of Jesus. While Tiffany is clearly in mom name territory now, it has a fascinating backstory and fits with Christmas girl names.
We all know the Three Wise Men followed a star. Vesper can refer to many things – a god, a sparrow, a Bond girl. But most often it refers to evening prayers, or the evening star. It’s that last one that puts Vesper on the Christmas girl names list, a reference to the night sky from all those years ago. Sound-wise, it succeeds for many of the same reasons Silver works. It’s a familiar-but-rare possibility with seasonal appeal.
A place name inspired by Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, Virginia has long been associated with Christmas thanks to the most famous newspaper editorial of all-time. Printed in New York’s The Sun in 1897, editor Francis Church responded to the inquiry by Virginia O’Hanlon with his enduring “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” It’s been widely re-published and circulated ever since.
A name with several possible origins and meanings, Yule is sometimes a surname and typically masculine as a given name. But one of those meaning is Christmas – think yule log – and that gives this name some possibility. After all, Noel and Noelle are appealing middles for our daughters, particularly if they’re born around Christmas. Yule could also be an unexpected festive middle.
In the iconic holiday film, It’s a Wonderful Life, Zuzu is the youngest of the Bailey children. We assume it’s a pet name for Susan – or at least, it almost always is. But with our love for high-value Scrabble letters, Zuzu is sometimes given independently, a Z name just a little different than Zuri or Zora. The littlest bit Bailey is no bit player, either; in the movie, she’s the one who tells us ” … every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.” That makes the daring Zuzu just right for Christmas girl names.
Do you have any favorite Christmas girl names? What would you add to this list?
First published on November 25, 2019, this post was revised and republished on December 2, 2020; December 2, 2021; September 23, 2022; December 15, 2022; and November 25, 2023.