Hi Duana,

I am pregnant with my first (and potentially only) child, a girl. I'm due Christmas Eve so will have a holiday-season baby. My husband is 100% set on the name Gloria. I also love it, and if my due date fell at any other time of year I would go for it, but... here's where I have some doubts. Is it Christmas-y??? Lots of nosy and/or well-meaning strangers, coworkers, etc. love to ask if we are going with a Christmas-themed name, which I usually greet with an internal eye-roll. But I can't get Angels We Have Heard on High out of my head (blame 1990s piano recitals). Is Gloria too biblically-adjacent or holiday themed?! We are non-religious folks so this might be a dealbreaker on this otherwise great name. For reference - the other names on our shortlist are Valerie, Ramona and Carmen, but they aren't grabbing us as much. I don't want to saddle our daughter with a holiday name and a holiday birthday, but it's otherwise awesome. Any suggestions if we have to move on?

Note - our last names are generally considered odd where we live (lots of "really?! that's your last name?", seriously), and she will primarily use my husband's last name which is a noun/verb with many consonants. My last name will be her 2nd middle name (largely for bureaucratic/travel purposes). And middle name will start with E.

Thanks, Duana! Love the column and I'm pumped to finally need some advice!


I mean, I posted this partly because as the gloom and Daylight Savings set in, it’s inetivable that we start aiming at the holidays as something to get us through, since there’s that feeling that if we get a strong enough run-up to the holidays that maybe we can socialize so much we’re sick of it through December, spend January being grateful we have nowhere to go, relatively speaking, and then there’s really only February and March to get through. Right? And if you’re on the fence, may I point out that while 98 Degrees is barely a footnote of a footnote to Jessica Simpson’s biography, their Christmas album, from which I pulled the title of this article, is pretty great. 

But also, that’s kind of what you’re asking, right? If you name a Christmas baby Gloria, is everyone going to follow her around singing seventeen-syllable versions of her name all the time? And if they are (and look, some annoying people may) is that a good enough reason not to use the name? 

I’m going to say it’s not. Look, there are all kinds of names that are in reference to something, and there are puns to say around ‘saying Grace’ or summer, as in “Hey Summer! I guess every day is summer to you!” 

I mean, I guess my point is that yes, there’s a connection to be made there, for people who not only celebrate Christmas but are particularly in tune with the religious/ritualistic aspects of it, but ‘Gloria’ will come up in anything Latin/church related anyway, and people will and do understand that it’s a word as well as a name – and there are millions of other word names that have this issue, most of which don’t seem to impede the person’s enjoyment of their name at all. 

I did learn (in a podcast about fraudulent voting, of all things) that, as you guess, there have historically been more people born around Christmas who are named things like Christina or Josephine or Holly – but there are plenty of people born not around those times too, and I think it’s fair to create a narrative that’s something like “oh yeah, my parents liked a lot of names but being born near Christmas clinched it. Shrug.” In short, I don’t think anything about the confluence of those two things is a downside. Maybe a little on the cute side, but nothing worth reconsidering. 

If you had another gangbusters name, then I might say go ahead with the other, but since you don’t, I’m not that worried. However, Valerie and Ramona and Carmen make me think of names like Geneva or Renata or Paloma or Imogen, so you can try some of those on for size and charm – but Gloria is as likely as any of those to be completely unique in her peer group, and I promise one Christmas carol isn’t any more likely to make her name a joke than if her birthday was in July… if people even notice the link at all. If you don’t believe me, ask Carol… or Caroline, or Emmanuel, or Mary, or – you get the idea. 

I’d picture yourself sending out the ‘Hey here she is’ email and see if it makes you cringe, and I’d probably not go with the old “And they brought her home in a Christmas stocking!” photo, but I’m really not bothered by this, and if you’re looking for my permission to de-link the date and the name, well… Happy Birthday! Heh.  

Let us know!