Holiday-inspired baby names -- will the season dictate your choice?

by Melissa Jaramillo

Holiday Baby Names 2012Congratulations, you're pregnant and due around the holidays! Welcoming a new baby makes the season more memorable and gives another reason to celebrate!

Will your baby's name reflect a holiday theme?

Will you be considering a traditional or religious name? What about honoring a relative who's passed on?

If you're leaning toward a meaningful name for a child born during the winter holidays, these categories could get your creative juices flowing!

Naming your holiday baby

The spirit of the season

Whether the holidays remind you of warmth, mirth and joy or peace, thankfulness, faith and hope, incorporating into your holiday baby's name couldn't be simpler or more meaningful. Consider these seasonal attributes:

• Jemima, Paloma (meaning peace)
• Charity, Hope, Faith and Joy
• Merry, Merri-lee

Thanksgiving

A handful of unique baby names mean "thankful" and what better way to be inspired by Thanksgiving?

• Girl names that mean "thankful" include the Egyptian name Jendayi and the African name Shakira
• Boy names include the Old English name Jaden and the African name Zikomo

You might prefer an early American virtue name or chose that of a passenger the Mayflower.

Hanukkah baby names

Although a minor holiday for the Jewish community, Hanukkah, the festival of lights, is observed at around the same time Christians celebrate Christmas. These holiday names suit the season:

• Hannah, Mattathias, Jonathan or Simeon
• Abner, Chiara (meaning light)

Winter solstice

It's the deepest, darkest moment of winter. From now on the days start to lengthen. Names associated with this time of year may focus on either winter, the sun or one of the words for solstice.

Winter:
• Winter, Wynter
• Arthan (Old Welch)
• Aneira (Latin or Welch meaning snow)

Sun:
• Enya (Native American)
• Natalie (rebirth)
• Sorin (Romanian)

Solstice or Yule:
• Alban (Welch)
• Jolie (French)

Christmas

Would you like to emphasize that your special gift arrived near Christmas?

• Noel, Noelle and Navidad mean "Christmas"
• Natalie, Natalia, and Natasha all mean "born on Christmas Day"

Related to the birth of Jesus: For many Christians Christmas means more than toys and tinsel. It's the celebration of Jesus's birth, as reflected in these names:

• Joseph or Mary
• Balthasar, Balthazar, Casper, Gaspard, Jasper
• Emmanuael, Manuel (Hebrew, "God is with us")
• Christian, Christine, Christina, Christopher, Christabel, and Cristobal (followers of Christ)

Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa, which means "first fruit of the harvest" in Swahili, focuses on the traditional African values of family occurs each year on December 26. It's based on the celebration of seven principles or beliefs called the Nguzo Saba.

• Kwanza (meaning first)
• Nia (meaning purpose)
• Imani (meaning faith)

Related to the season

Looking out the window might inspire your baby's name.

• Bianca Bronwen, Gwen, Rowena (names meaning white)
• Winter, January

Names that mean "light":

• Claire or Clara
• Eleanor, Lenora or Nora
• Helen, Lucy or Luci

Names that mean "greenery": The holly, ivy and Christmas tree. Should your child be named Cedar, Berry, Juniper, Ivy or Holly?

Names that mean "angelic":

• Angel, Angela -- This Greek name means messenger of God
• Gabriel (angel who announced birth of Christ)
• Hermoine, Malachi, Michael (messenger)

Will your baby have a holiday-inspired name? How did you make your decision?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.