Sunday Summary: 12.16.18Happy Sunday!

The holiday season is here, and I find myself thinking about gifts. Not the kind you wrap up and put under a tree. Names as gifts. They’re the very first gifts we give our children; the kind of present we truly hope the recipient loves.

They’re delightfully egalitarian, too. Anybody can come up with a fantastic name for a child, one rich with meaning and style. But even if you dine on gold plates, your kiddo still gets only one name. Oh, i suppose you can go full Uma Thurman and name your daughter Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson. But mostly, it sounds like Uma’s youngest answers to Luna. Prince George, the future King of England, shares his name with thousands of boys born the same year.

As with any gift, it’s good to keep the recipient in mind. But we don’t know much about our children at all when we’re choosing their names, so that’s not terribly helpful advice for naming.

Despite that hurdle, I’ve always thought that the image of name-as-gift works well. And, of course, there are as many different approaches to choosing gifts as there are ways to name a child.

Did you think of your child’s name as a gift?


  • Meet Kate’s baby boy! Welcome to the world, Luke Benedict.
  • Girls named Billie and Bobby appear in the most recent edition of British Baby Names’ birth announcements. I like both – especially Billie. But will this trend catch on?
  • While we’re in the UK, I’m always curious about lists like this. Is it really worth announcing that names in the current Top Ten will be big in the coming year? I mean … of course they will! The more interesting predictions are more along the lines of Edith and Bonnie, but again … they’re already in the England & Wales Top 100.
  • Oh, how I’m enjoying The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. (Confession: I put the Amazon Prime streaming app on my phone because I don’t currently have a television. This, it turns out, may not be a good idea.) Here’s a look at the pitch-perfect character names. Lately I’m loving Miriam, as in the title character herself, though she mostly goes by Midge.
  • LOVE this reflection on the benefits of multiple middle names from someone who would know! “It’s funny when your New Age-y parents give you several middle names—I have three—and you can pick and choose from them for different projects. My full name is Malu Abeni Valentine Lutz Byrne.” Miss Byrne is the daughter of Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, and named her jewelry collection Abeni.
  • Another story about an invented surname inspired by both parents’ surnames. I like the idea so much, but I wonder if it will catch on? For adults to change their names takes some paperwork. But for kids? They get to start with the new blended surname from day one, so it seems like a much easier choice. And far less cumbersome than answering to a double surname, perhaps.
  • From the wayback machine: one year ago, we looked at Winter Holiday Baby Names. I should update this with all the great new content that’s coming out right about now! In 2014, we look at all of the Chris- names.

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

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 two kids who have blended surnames. One works beautifully and the other sounds awkward to me (along the lines of Wojin). I think it’s a tricky balance to strike depending on the names you’re working with.

  2. I love Miriam and Bonnie! Most name nerds seem to adore Edith and Edie but I just never really liked the sound of them.

  3. My son has a blended surname. He’s a toddler so any of the logistical stuff hasn’t come up yet – we’re not dealing with schools or international travel or anything – hopefully it’ll never be an issue. He wasn’t going to share a name with at least one of us anyway. I do worry about the name making him easily google-able, though.