Unexpected Christmas Baby Names for Boys

Cover of a 1912 edition of the poem, illustrat...

Cover of a 1912 edition of the poem, illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Expecting a son this holiday season?  You could always name him Nicholas, and hope that he’d appreciate sharing his classic appellation with S. Claus himself.

Or maybe Rudolph, but even if he arrives on December 25, it still feels like a name more clunky than cool.

So what are the stylish names to consider for a son who makes his appearance right around the Christmas holidays?  I’m surprised to say that there are plenty of possibilities, easily more than the girls’ list.

If you’re hoping for a boys’ name with a subtle nod to the season, here are some to consider.

Arthur – He’s best known a legendary king, but in 2011’s animated Christmas flick Arthur Christmas, he’s also an elf who sets off on an adventure to save Christmas.

Balthasar – The three wise men aren’t named in the Bible, but by tradition they’re typically known as Balthasar, Casper, and Melchior.  Thanks to handsome actor Balthazar Getty, this might be the most wearable of the three.

Casper – Before he was the friendly ghost, he followed a star to Bethlehem.  Another version of the name is the quite fashionable Jasper.  Melchior, however, is probably out.

Clement – The enduring ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is the literary masterwork of Clement Clarke Moore, a Columbia University professor in the early nineteenth century.  Among other things, Moore’s poem gave us the names of the eight reindeer, none of which made this list.

December – Sometimes listed as a possibility for girls, December strikes me as wearable for both genders.  Dex for short, maybe?

Douglas – After the evergreen.  Could be an exceptionally handsome middle if you want something as classic as James, but less common.

Drummer – I wouldn’t have thought of musical Drummer among the Christmas baby names, except that blogger No Big Dill gave the name to her son, born in 2011, inspired by the Nativity story and the song The Little Drummer Boy.

Eben – You probably wouldn’t name a baby Ebenezer, but Eben is a part of the compound Hebrew name.  In our age of Evan and Ethan, Eben is something just a little different.

Fraser – Another evergreen, one that fits with surname names for boys, especially those that end with r.  Television’s Frasier Crane helped put the name firmly on the list of possibilities.

Fred – Yes, Fred.  Or maybe Frederic or Frederick, thanks to the Vince Vaughn movie Fred Claus.  Okay, it’s not exactly It’s a Wonderful Life, but the 2007 movie has some charm.  Plus, Freddie is a great short form for little boy.

Frost – A seasonal winter pick less expected than Jack.

Garland – Like many surnames, Garland makes me think of Southern gentlemen more than winter holidays.  But if you’re decking the halls, Garland does have some seasonal appeal.

Luke – Along with Matthew, the Gospel of Luke is one of the accounts of the Nativity, and it is the longest one.  Luke tells us of the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary, Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, and the angel telling the shepherds of Jesus’ birth.  It’s a popular name, and one that captures the spiritual elements of the season, too.

Hollis – He’s a surname related to Holly, right at home with preppy ends-with-s names for boys like Brooks and Ames.

Noble – A virtue name, and yet another evergreen tree to add to the Christmas baby names list.

Noel – Pronounced no ELLE she’s a feminine appellation, borrowed from the French word for Christmas.  But rhyme Noel with Joel and Cole, and he’s a boys’ names with a British vibe, thanks to Noel Coward and Noel Gallagher.

North – The three wise men followed a star, and stars are a well-known Christmas symbol, so celestial names feel appropriate.  Better still, the North Star has been used for centuries to aid navigators, and True North is a poetic way of saying that you know your direction.  This makes North something of a modern virtue name.

Pax – Yes, he’s a Jolie-Pitt kid.  Pax is also Latin for peace.

Rudy – Rudolph feels unwearable, but how ’bout Rudy?  There’s something unexpected and edgy about this name.  Bonus points if you’re Notre Dame fans.

Shepherd – A daring occupational name, a gentle answer to Jagger and Slade.

Spruce – Perhaps best reserved for the middle spot, Spruce rhymes with once-favorite Bruce, and is as valid a Christmas tree name as any on this list.

Tannen – I had my doubts about Tannen, also sometimes spelled Tannon.  It is German for pine, and Tannenbaum is a seasonal word.  But Tannen feels more like a modern innovation than a seasonal nod.  Still, he could be a great compromise choice if you’re stuck between Hayden and Noel.

Have I missed any seasonal names for boys?  Would you consider any of these for a December/January baby?  How about at other times of the year?

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13 Comments

My puppy is names Pax. He was born in January and came home in March. I wanted a name that meant peace or comfort. Shepherd is one of my top picks for a boys name any time of year but it is especially cool at Christmas. I would use Noelle or Noel around Christmas time. Noelle is a special family name for me.

I like December and Balthazar best of this. I know a little Balthazar actually.

I know a guy first name Hall, I have never before this post thought of it in term of fa la la la but now I am. So, uh, thanks for that?

I actually really like Angel (Either the Spanish or English pronunciation) for boys. And it counts as unexpected I think, even if it is in the Top Thousand?

I thought that the boy’s name Noel could be pronounced like No-elle, not just like “nole”? I prefer No-elle, myself. 🙂

LOVE LOVE LOVE Shepherd (somewhat because of Mass Effect). I think it’s handsome, understated, with a slight Sawyer flair. Plus Shep is pretty cute. Clement is fairly attractive, though it makes me think of a professor I had in college… And I’ve been liking Douglas more as of late (much to do with the Pearl and the Beard song “Douglas, Douglass”). Then there’s Eben, which if it where to be used any time but Christmas time I’d prefer as Ebon.

Part of me also really likes Yule, this is the same part that loves Yuri.

Dare I admit that I just though of another reason to make Hollis a Christmas name?

Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” – does that count?! Watching the video on YouTube. I’m chillin’ and coolin’ just like a snow man …

Okay, it’s a stretch.

Actually “Noel” could be pronounced no-elle, depending on the language you’re importing it from. In French, Spanish, Portuguese for example, its no-elle. I actually prefer this pronunciation over no-ull, I don’t think its as handsome.

Im not as attracted to these as the girls, but I love North! I would use that anytime of the year. I really like Noel (said like Joel) but feel like he would get called No elle all the time, would Nole be an acceptable misspelling? Shepherd is nice I would like to see that on other babies, but too religious for mine.

Other christmas boys names I would think would be
Douglas, Elm and Fraser – christmas trees

Dasher and Donner – usable reindeer

Bing – of course standards singers at christmas time!

Bing – what a great add to the list!

I can’t hear Donner without adding “party,” but maybe that’s just me …

Fred is also the main guy in Miracle on 34th Street. Mr. Fred Gailey. I was just watching that thinking it’d be a nice Christmas baby name. Very subtle, but he’s a great character in a great movie. Plus, I just love Freddie!

My uncle’s middle name is Nick and he always signs Christmas cards and packages “St. Nick”, which I have always loved and obviously he does too.

I think just Dex actually works, if December is too much.

I really like Hollis, Noble, Frost and North. If I had a Christmas baby I’d find it difficult to not use a Christmasy name, at least in the middle. I love Frost, and it’s a family name, but Dash was born it February and I didn’t use it then. It feels a bit like a missed opportunity. Anyway of these, I think North is the most overtly Christmasy name.

Great list!