July 22, 2015


Paxton ~ Peaceful Town ~ Latin, English

It's the trendy sound, the "x" factor, the nickname Pax, and the meaning that has lots of us loving this name. Basically, Paxton has everything going for it right now. If there was any doubt, America is proving its infatuation as time goes by.

Paxton has fairly deep roots as an English surname. We've heard of it from celebrities like Bill Paxton or Tom Paxton, if not from people we know in our everyday lives. When I encounter this name it translates itself almost immediately: Pax is Latin for "peace" and the -ton suffix is "town".

There is another definition in play for Paxton, citing Pax to come from the word Poecc, which has unknown meaning. But one way or another, pax's Latin roots make this name synonymous with peace.

This surname fits into the category of English names chosen to indicate that a person is from a particular area—if you've read the popular Ancestry.com article about types of English surnames, it fits into their place name category.

It's a fantastic thing, to be from a peaceful town. (And in case you got here from my Christmas Spirit names sublist, it's that serene meaning that drew me to add Paxton.) Paxton is a sweet name that's turning heads and getting more attention every year.

For 2014, Paxton is ranked at 260. Here's how its name graph from the Baby Name Wizard looks:

Paxton may have a history as a surname, but as a given name it's modern, and it's taking off like a rocket. That being said, Paxton is still not what I would call popular. Ranked in the 200s, I'd say it's fresh though not unusual, well-liked, and far from stale.

Paxton was one of the fastest rising names of 2008.

  • Pax
Famous Namesakes & Celebrity Babies
  • Paxton Whitehead, actor

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July 13, 2015

Christmas Names in July

This post goes out to those of you who are expecting a December bundle of joy. Congratulations!

I'm happy to say that I'm part of that group! My second little one is coming along in late December. So I speak from experience that if you have a child due during the holidays, you are thinking of wintery names right now, as you beat the heat with a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream in your maternity tank top and sunglasses. (Or is that just me?) Not every name on your list is bedazzled with tinsel, but if you love the holidays, you are seriously considering a few.

So, in our honor, I've completely revamped my list of Christmas and Holiday Baby Names.

It was a much-needed update! (In my defense, it was one of the first posts I ever wrote. Ah, memories...) You'll find everything from Angel to Zuzu, but in order to keep us from being overwhelmed (baby naming isn't easy!) I divided them into categories: Traditional, Holiday Spirit, Santa and Christmas Tales, and Winter Nature Names. I hope you're able to find your favorites and add a couple of new names to your list.

I didn't touch my Winter Cabin Retreat Names, because...well, it's already beyond all editing. But do check it out if you're in the mood for a little wintery fun!

Up next I'll feature a few individual names from the Christmas and Holiday Baby Names list. Because it's all about the details! And, by the way, if you want name advice, just send me a note. If I can fit it in, I provide completely free and confidential name consultations over email. I love doing it, and I'll keep doing it...at least while I have the time!

Happy Holiday Name Hunting!

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July 1, 2015


Gloria ~ Glory ~ Latin

I secretly (or...apparently...not-so-secretly) love this name. Are you surprised? I am. What I love about it has everything to do with its sound, even more than its connection to Americana and the holidays, and definitely more than its history of success in the middle of the 20th century. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Only a few years ago I'd say this name was at least one generation away from being cool again, but now I'm not so sure. In my eyes, Gloria is ready.

If you doubt that, I don't blame you at all. You are in the majority. But go with me down a little rabbit trail of sounds for a sec.

Do you like:

That group of names, each in their own way, feels like a jumping off point to loving Gloria. The middle of the name has a sound we're really familiar with, and the -ia ending is pure contemporary perfection. So, I admit it, it's the Gl- beginning that may be throwing us off right now, as other names like Glenda and Gladys have gone by the wayside in favor of less consonant-heavy sounds.

But hang in there with me. And keep repeating Aria, Aurora, Julia, Laurel, Gloria, Rory, and Victoria. See what I did there?

It may sound like a name that has been around forever, but Gloria was written into existence by a playwright in the late 1800s. George Bernard Shaw created the name for You Never Can Tell, a comedy of errors that delighted audiences, and Gloria has been with us ever since.

The word gloria is Latin, and it's been around for much longer than the use of the word as a name. In the Christmas tradition, the angels shout, "Glory to God in the highest," and the famed Latin translation is, Gloria in excelsis Deo. This phrase has lived on in classical music, Christmas carols, prayers, and psalms over centuries.

Gloria has a lovely sound and a not-so-secret meaning—glory. It brings to mind Old Glory, a 19th century flag that became a symbol of patriotism during the civil war, and eventually, a nickname for all American flags. That's just one reason why the name Gloria soared after WWI. (We can also thank starlet Gloria Swanson for keeping this name ultra glamorous through the years.) It became a classic, staying in the top 100s for nearly four more decades.

Two Holidays in One
In my eyes, Gloria feels like it could be seasonal, but unlike almost every other seasonal name, it works in opposite times of the year—July, for its sense of patriotism, and December, for the famous angelic declaration. (Another name with the same July/December seasonal trick? Star.) Even though Gloria could be used for a baby born any time of the year, I think it has a bit of an extra edge for a darling choice in either July or December.

Gloria isn't doing so well right now. It's ranked in the mid-500s and is falling in popularity with each year. Statistically, Gloria is likely to continue the downward trend, only returning to fashion over the course of a few more decades. But that doesn't mean it's off-limits, of course.

Today, Gloria feels like a vintage throwback name that is half elegant, half cute as a button, but it isn’t quite ready for a return to its former (ahem) glory. That being said, I give you permission to be ahead of the curve and choose Gloria now for its surprisingly contemporary style and charming associations.

Spinoffs and Creative Nicknames
Some parents are getting creative with this name, inventing a few modern spin-offs:
  • Glory
  • Gloriana (also a country music band) or Glorianna
  • Glorianne
  • Glorious
They may just strike you as more appealing than Gloria, even though they are much more unique.

Less-than-expected nicknames for Gloria:
  • Glory
  • Lori
  • Loria
  • Ria
Famous Namesakes
This list kind of makes a point, generationally. It's hard to find a young Gloria these days!
  • Gloria Estefan, singer
  • Gloria Gaynor, singer
  • Gloria Steinem, feminist and activist
  • Gloria Swanson, actress
Celebrity Babies Named Gloria
Actors Peter Sarsgaard and Maggie Gyllenhaal named their daughter Gloria Ray in 2012. Hooray!

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June 25, 2015

Freshly Picked Baby Names of 2014: New Names in the top 100s and 200s

When the 2014 names stats were released, I was thrilled...and busy. So when I finally got to sneak in some time to delve into the names, I was determined to write up a quick post on a few finds. The results are fantastic, fresh names that are showing tons of promise. It doesn't get more inspiring than that!

America has spoken—these top names are the latest picks worthy of the top 100 and the top 200. They range in style from pioneer-era favorites (Alice) to modern inventions (Ryder), but there's such a rich sample here that one or two is bound to entice you. To put it simply: these are red-hot names to watch in the next coming years.

Baby Names New to the Top 100

    New Top 100 Girls' Names
    • Eleanor
    • Alice
    • Vivian
    • Hadley

    New Top 100 Boys' Names

    • Asher
    • Ryder
    • Leo
    This group of names does have a few things in common. Eleanor, Vivian, and Leo are choices popular in the 1910s and 20s, demonstrating that our taste for "old fashioned" is starting to move beyond pioneer times. Alice, however, is a perfect example of the hold that those Victorian-era names continue to have over us. Hadley and Ryder could be a perfect little sibling set, as they are both modern choices new to the naming scene. Asher is a newly discovered biblical favorite, with little use in America before the 21st century.

    Baby Names New to the Top 200

      New Top 200 Girls' Names
      • Emilia
      • Arabella
      • Everly
      • Callie
      • Alina
      • Rose
      • Athena
      • Emerson
      • Adelyn

      New Top 200 Boys' Names

      • Luca
      • Karter
      • Graham
      • Jayceon
      This group is really going places! They are all on a sharp upward trend, as parents look for names that aren't overdone, but aren't unfamiliar.

      You can put a check in the old-fashioned column next to Callie, Rose, and Graham, but for the most part, these names reflect a more modern style. Some are a twist on wildly popular old-fashioned favorites with Emilia (Amelia), Adelyn (Madeline), and Karter (Carter). Truly modern choices are Everly, Emerson, and Jayceon. Luca is an Italian classic, while the girls have a flowing trio of multisyllabic "a" names with Arabella, Alina, and Athena.

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