By Raven Snook
From trees to colors to countries, find out what’s inspiring the baby names we’ll be seeing more of in 2013!
Scandinavian Baby Names
Baby names are taking a turn to blonder, Nordic climes. This year, the hottest names will be Scandinavian inspired — think Soren, Axel and Magnus. (In fact, we’re already starting to see the uptick: Country crooner Jennifer Nettles and “The Hunger Games” star Elizabeth Banks both recently chose Magnus for their newborns.) This comes on the heels of everything Scandinavian — design, food — being hot, plus the popularity of “The Avengers’” hunky superhero Thor. American parents are warming to the sound of these strong, unfussy names — especially for boys, says Linda Rosenkrantz of Nameberry.com. So look for Scandinavian monikers — including the exotic-but-not-too-weird Axel, Viggo, Leif and Lars — to hit as hard as Thor’s mighty hammer.
The Consonant “L”
This year’s hot consonant? We think it’s going to be the letter “L.” A slew of celebrities have been choosing monikers beginning with L for their little bundles of joy, most recently Matthew McConaughey, who named his son Livingston. (Other celeb parents who love the “L”: Snooki, who named her baby Lorenzo; Hilary Duff, whose son is Luca; and Jillian Michaels, mom to Lukensia.) Names that start with “L” typically have an upbeat, lilting quality, regardless of whether they’re classic (like Sandra Bullock’s Louis), ethnic or totally made up, which makes them appealing to lots of parents. Plus, the names Liam, Levi, Luna and Lily are all steadily climbing up the Social Security Administration’s list of most popular baby names.
Hometowns, memory-filled vacation spots and even the place of conception are inspiring a whole new wave of place names that have personal relevance for parents. Reese Witherspoon named her son Tennessee after the state she grew up in; Chris Hemsworth and his wife said they picked India for their daughter’s name because they “love the country.” And even when parents don’t share the reason behind their geographical name choices (Rosie O’Donnell’s newborn daughter is named Dakota, and “Girls” star Jemima Kirke’s newborn son is Memphis), they’re making a statement about their affinity for the vibe and reputation of the place they pick.
Blue Ivy may be the most famous color name out there, but she isn’t alone. Pretty hues like Scarlett, Hazel, Violet (Emily Robison’s recent choice) and Ruby (Marley Shelton’s pick for her newborn) are quickly gaining in popularity, especially for girls. Long out of fashion, these revived monikers possess that familiar but exotic quality that parents love, and also imply that the child will be colorful and stand out in a crowd. We’re betting that Beyonce and Jay-Z’s baby name will inspire some colorful choices in the year to come.
Inspired by Nature: Tree Names
Tree monikers sound strong, stable and connected to the land. So it’s notable that down-to-earth celebrities like Pink, Drew Barrymore and Jason Bateman all recently picked tree names for their daughters (Willow, Olive and Maple, respectively). It’s a strong statement that reflects a love and respect of Mother Nature, and a hope that their kids will be grounded. (Yes, even in Hollywood!) Tree names tend to be beautiful, too, so we won’t be surprised if Acacia, Juniper, Ash and Forrest start blooming soon, too.
What differentiates a name from a word? Nothing, really, but who cares? Increasingly, it seems, no one. Celebrities have long led the way when it comes to wacky baby names — most recently, actor Jeremy Sisto named his son Bastian Kick and “Hawaii Five-O” star Alex O’Loughlin named his son Lion, and Beyonce’s Blue Ivy certainly fits in this category, too — and they’ve made it okay for the rest of us to opt for “names” that are simply words we like. To wit: The recent baby names Hashtag and Facebook. (Not that we’re hoping that becomes a trend!)
Great-Granny Girls’ Names
Everything old becomes new again, but in the case of naming baby girls, these monikers are seriously vintage. They’re not just granny-chic; they’re great-granny chic! Wilhelmina (Taylor Hanson’s recent pick) was big back in the 1880s, and its shortened form, Willa (Keri Russell’s pick) calls to mind author Willa Cather, born in 1873. Another oldie making a comeback is Vivian (the choice of Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady for their newborn daughter); it ranked 154th on the Social Security Administration’s top baby names list in 2011 (the most recent year for which there’s data), up from 313 in 2001. Other super-granny choices of late: Jack Osbourne’s Pearl and Uma Thurman’s Rosalind. We expect this already strong trend to keep going in 2013!
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.