While the Social Security Administration's list of the most popular names of 2012 isn't due out until later this year, mommy bloggers have already been keeping tabs on what's hot and what's not when it comes to the best and the worst baby monikers. Choosing a name is kind of a big deal, so if you're currently name-checking, listen up! Check out some of last year's biggest trends to see if your ideas make the dos list—and the don'ts.
Stephanie who? Whereas baby names were once divided between boy and girl, the lines are getting a little more blurry with the shift to more androgynous names and a focus on more masculine names for girls. "It's been challenging to come up with masculine boys names due to this trend," says Tracey Black, blogger behind Don't Mess with Mama. "It seems like the pool of girls names gets bigger while the list of boys names gets smaller." Whether it's little Avery, Hayden, Addison or even Ryan, there's really no rules when it comes to gender bending baby names.
Creative Spelling Department
While some names might not be the most original on the planet, they are made more unique with creative spellings. Spelling a more common name differently than the norm was still a huge practice in 2012, carried over from a few years previous. Of course, it gets confusing. After all, there are around 25 documented ways to spell Kaylee … Cailie … Caylie … and even new ways to spell old standards like Michael, or Mykel. Just keep in mind that your child might be forced to remind everyone he's "Michael with a 'y'" for the rest of his life, so tread carefully.
It used to be more common for a child to have a formal name, but go by a nickname—Jacob might go by Jake. But informal names and nicknames are becoming the name seen on the birth certificate, without a formal version. Lora Jakobsen of MomAngeles names off a few that she's seen and heard lately: "Kiki (not Kathryn), Jake (not Jacob), Max (not Maximillian), Kate (not Kathryn), Beck (not Beckett) and Will (not William)," she recounts. Nicknames for first names are fine, as long as they'll grow with the child. "Bubba" might be cute for a chubby toddler, but for a hedge fund manager—not so much.
While we definitely won't speculate on why, it seems like there's a trend toward names used in the 50 Shades of Grey book series. Not only was the name Christian more popular, but Grey and Greyson or Grayson become more common as well in 2012. And for girls? Anastasia experienced a solid surge, as did the nickname Ana. Hey, they're cute names—as long as you remain mum on the details about where your kiddo’s name came from down the road.
Hey, we're not calling anyone's baby a nerd, but it's true that “geek” culture influenced baby naming trends in 2012. Whether it's Luke—as in Skywalker—or Link—as in "The Legend of Zelda"—gamers and hardcore fans aren't holding back when it comes to their kids' monikers. Other fantasy-inspired names include Anakin, Arwen and Selena, for "Star Wars," "The Lord of the Rings" and "Batman," respectively. We just hope the kid grows up to love sci-fi!
We're blaming it on “Downton Abbey,” because some of the hottest names of 2012 hearken back to a posh time where dressing for dinner was part of the schedule. Traditional British names, including those on “Downton” experienced a boost, thanks to the Crawley sisters, with names like Edith, Mary and Sybil. Some of the servants also saw their names enter the 21st century – William, Matthew, Thomas and Branson were all popular, as were the names for the two matriarchs of Donwton, Cora and Violet. Other Brit names were also hot commodities in the naming circuit, including traditional Brit names like Liam, Pippa, Kate and even London.
Don't forget the naming trends of the rich and famous. While they might not be popular when it comes to the general population, celebs had their own trends when it came to writing their baby's birth certificate. "For craziest baby names, and by that I mean just plain fun, just look for celebrities that tend to take the cake in this department," says Scarlet Paolicchi, the voice behind the Family Focus Blog. "Rocky was born to Sarah Michelle Gellar. Lion was born to Alex O'Loughlin. Breeze was born to Levi Johnston."
We get it: naming your baby is hard. And the truth is that if you love a name, you should use it, no matter what number it ranks on the popularity charts. But checking out some of the latest trends can help point you in a path and narrow down your name selection so that when your little one arrives, you'll know exactly what to call him.