Come, Ebenezer!


By Laurie Bogart Morrow, author of The Giant Book of Dog Names


christmas pups

Are you expecting a new member of the family this year? (Photo from Pinterest. Join our Christmas Pinterest Board here)

It’s just like all those Christmas cards that picture an adorable puppy wearing a Santa hat peeking out of a stocking—except this time, it’s real and he’s yours. So, you got a puppy for Christmas! There’s nothing like the warmth of a puppy nestled in your arms, or the soft, wet lick of his little pink tongue on your hand or cheek. Your life will never be the same again for a whole bunch of reasons, most of them good. But there’s something you’ve got to do after you’ve given him another cuddle and some food and water, and cleaned up the little mess he’s given to you as his Christmas gift—and that’s to give him his name.

Because a Christmas puppy is particularly special, here are some special holiday-related names you might want to try on him for size. To start with, obviously—

SCROOGE or EBENEZER—of course, Ebenezer Scrooge. Classic story of a curmudgeon who is visited by three ghosts that attempt to change his penny-pinching, dour, friendless life by subliminally revealing the true meaning of Christmas to him—and to countless millions across the years—in Charles Dickens’s immortal A Christmas Carol.

CRATCHIT Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s underpaid, underappreciated clerk—until those same three ghosts come to visit Scrooge. After that, everything changes.

HOLLY “Domestic happiness” in the language of flowers. One of Queen Elizabeth II of England’s beloved Corgis.

BING Harry Lillis “Bing” Crosby (1903-1977), one of the most popular singers and performers of his, or any, day. Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” was first sung in 1942 by Crosby in the classic holiday film, Holiday Inn, in which he starred with Fred Astaire. It would become the greatest hit of his career—and the greatest holiday song, and most widely recorded song, of all time.

SNOWBALL Ball made of snow used to toss in play and make snowmen. A lively, fluffy white dog such as a Poodle or Samoyed should be named Snowball.

SNOWFLAKE Flake of snow and a good name for a Bichon Frise, American Eskimo Dog, or any white dog.

SANTA Holy, in Italian

PAWS Santa Paws was Santa Claus’s dog in the 2009 Disney film, Santa Buddies.

ANGEL Messengers of God in the Bible, the Tanakh, and the Quran. Derived from the Greek word aggelos.

CRANBERRY Edible berry of a bush that thrives in bogs. Cranberris are boiled with sugar and water to make cranberry sauce—mmm, good with holiday turkey!

BALSAM As in the pine tree. “Fervent love” in the language of flowers

FROST or FROSTY. Wonderful name for a dog with a white coat such as the Great Pyrenees.

CHESTNUT From the Ancient Greek kastaneia, a genus of eight species of nut-bearing trees. Perfect addition to stuffing but best bought from a street vender on a corner in New York City, piping hot in a paper bag, at Christmastime.

YULE The feast of the nativity of Christmas. Also JOSEPH YULE, JR., birth name of one of Hollywood’s most beloved actors who himself is the voice of Santa Claus in the stop-motion television special that we’ve looked forward to watch every Christmas since 1970, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town—my friend, the great Mickey Rooney.

Other names you might consider are Jingle, Stocking, Candy Cane, Eggnog, Mistletoe, Shepherd, Tinsel, Star, Candle, any of Santa’s reindeer (Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen— and of course, Rudolph) Charcoal, Bow, Balsam, Chimney, Elf, Jolly, Merry, Partridge, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Believe, Rejoice, Pudding, Winter, Sugarplum and if he arrived on Christmas Eve, Eve. And taking poetic license, I want to add Dylan, after Dylan Thomas, the late, great poet, whose memoir, “Child’s Christmas in Wales,” reflects the innocent beauty and joy of Christmas better than almost anything else I know.

But there’s one name in particular I’d like to close with, and that’s TINY TIM. Hearken back to A Christmas Carol and you know Tiny Tim as the crippled youngest child of Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s long-suffering clerk. Though fated to die, Destiny in the form of those three well-intentioned Ghosts appear before Scrooge and give him an ultimatum. Scrooge seizes the opportunity and lives the rest of his days as though eash is Christmas Day. Tiny Tim gets well and becomes a surrogate grandson to good old Scrooge; and thus ends the second greatest of all Christmas stories (the first, the most blessed of all, the story of a babe lying in the manager, which is what Christmas, after all, is all about.) And, as Tiny Tim proclaims, “God bless us everyone!” And to you, one and all, Merry Christmas and indeed, God bless us everyone!



Excerpts from The Giant Book of Dog Names, by Laurie Bogart Morrow, published by Gallery Books. Available online and at most bookstores. Copyright © 2012 by Laurie Bogart Morrow, who would love to know what you named your dog and can be reached at