This year, names are more than just a moniker -- and more than a reflection of mom and dad's personal style. As parenting becomes even more of a focus in people's lives -- with many moms or dads making it a priority to be home full or part-time with the kids -- we're seeing that names are increasingly chosen for the emotional significance they carry. Parents are looking for names to evoke positive memories of places and things that are important to them -- a blissful honeymoon destination, a favorite relative, a song, a childhood experience (or all of the above).
When Kimberly B. of Attleboro, Massachusetts, started her baby name list, Salem was on it right from the start because her family would always visit Salem, Massachusetts in the fall. Years later, Kimberly returned to Salem as a wife and a soon-to-be second-time mom--and that's where she first began to feel contractions for her daughter. After the baby was born, Kimberly says, "My son and I held her and said different names to her -- she didn't even bat an eye -- but when we called her Salem, she opened her eyes and looked right at us."
lthough European royal names such as Isabella, Elizabeth, and William have long reigned among tradition-minded parents, there's an American equivalent gaining in popularity. Presidential names - famous surnames of popular presidents used as first names. Jackson, Carter, and Grant are in the lead for boys and Madison, Kennedy, and Reagan are in the lead for girls. On the rise: Lincoln and Jefferson, and Clinton is in the top 1000.
For Lisa R. of Manchester, New Hampshire, Reagan proved to be an ideal choice for her daughter: "It's a really strong name on its own. There are no nicknames for it," she says, and the name is perfect for them in other ways, too - the couple met as Young Republicans on a bus to the '96 presidential debates. It wasn't until after their daughter was born that they discovered she also shared a birthday with the former prez.