Sunday Summary 12.10.23We’ve been deep in Cabbage Patch Kids nostalgia on Instagram and Facebook this week. During the initial craze, my parents managed to bring home three of the impossible-to-find dolls for my sisters and I. I’m sure they thought it was crazy, and it probably was – a little. But I still remember that as the most magical of gifts.

No small part of it: the NAMES. Up until then, all dolls had the same name. A shelf full of Betsys or Kimberlys or Barbies. (Okay, Barbie had her own aisle.)

Maybe the reason parents have gravitated towards more and more unusual names is that those dolls gave us the idea that we shouldn’t have to share our names?


Oh, I love a good royal name story. Nancy has the lowdown on Melita. By 2023 standards, it sounds a little like a fancy espresso machine, but I still think the story is all kinds of fabulous.

I always wonder about extreme character names. I read Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House, the book that introduced Galaxy “Alex” Stern. She returned in the sequel Hell Bent, and now Amazon is developing the books into a series. Will the show reveal her full name, or just stick with Alex? I don’t remember a good reason for her character to have such a truly unusual given name. It reminds me of the random character names always popping up in Elin Hildebrand novels. Think Cygnet and Regency – always given to bit characters, too, usually just mentioned in passing.

Is everyone in Burlington, Vermont named Sam? Not really, but there definitely are certain names that feel like they fit a place, and according to this TikTok, Burlington is Sam Central. Seems right. Related: I’ve been tabulating character names from Hallmark Christmas movies, and while the project is bigger than I imagined, names like Ben, Sam, and Jack are definitely over-represented.)

This one is new to me: Tage. As in Tage Thompson of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. His younger brother Tyce, and he’s also a hockey player. Dad is Brent; Tage’s son is Brooks. Tage might be a Danish name meaning “to capture.” It’s having a moment in Sweden now. Since Tage’s dad was also a hockey player, it’s possible he heard it in the wild, though since Tyce feels like more of a modern invention, maybe they both are?

Spotted online: a newborn named November Rein. Love the sound of November, and most calendar names in general. But November Rein is so very Guns N’ Roses to me. Am I overthinking that? I mean … it’s a serious anthem, but it’s not exactly a lullaby, so … it feels like you’d almost have to be a GNR superfan to use it. (Or have literally never heard a GNR song, which strikes me as unlikely.) Hmmm …

That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!

boy names 12.10.23 girl names 12.10.23

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I know a little Malita. She was named from the book of Acts in the Bible. The name has very person meaning to the parents and while it is quite different, it’s very pretty to me. She’s the

  2. Alex was named Galaxy because her mother is into crystals and tarot and is the sort of person to want to give her child a very unique name. I think the series does some interesting work with names and what they mean about people – how Alex feels about being someone with unique talents, how she reacts to people who assume she’s an Alexandra, the contrast between her and her Lethe colleague with a Roman numeral behind his name.

  3. November was the name of a former coworker’s toddler. Her nickname is Nova. I don’t know where it came from other than that they thought it was cool,