Noelle is derived from the word Noel which means “Christmas” in French. These days, anyone would know that it’s a name associated with the holiday because of the countless renditions of “The First Noel” played in December and the branding of merchandise, storefronts, and religious displays. My name has always seemed to suit me perfectly; not because of how it’s spelled or even how it sounds. Not even because of the extra dose of Christmas cheer it’s imprinted on me. It just embodies this feeling of light who fits who I am and who I hope to be in the future. But I know that it wasn’t your first choice for your first daughter’s name.
You always say that you liked the name Noelle. To you, it represented this sense of happiness, a delicate femininity, and of course your favorite holiday: Christmas. But you didn’t have this name picked out since you were little like most people do when they think of their future children. Even during your pregnancy, there were other strong contenders in the name game for me that you and dad mulled over and over in your heads before I was born.
Despite this, you chose Noelle because it just seemed to fit. One look at my chubby cheeks and curly hair, and things apparently clicked. It’s funny that this was chosen as I wasn’t even born during the holiday season. The part of me that has indulged in too many RomCom and YA novels revels in something that may seem so cliche — how naming me Noelle just made sense to you when I was born. Naming a kid is kind of important and that’s why people usually spend their trimesters brainstorming. And you had another name all picked out, but you didn’t go through with it. How could seeing the slightest glimpse of a wrinkled newborn change your mind?
Sometimes I wonder if you realize how much my name has impacted me. For one, it’s made me a Christmas fanatic. You know how much I loved picking out Secret Santa gifts for classroom holiday parties in elementary school and watching Dad decorate the outside of the house with those ridiculous inflatables that were sure to fly away. I’ve always appreciated even the smallest of details during the season. And even though not every year was perfect with life’s roller coaster of circumstances trying to ruin the holiday, it was always so easy for me to block out the negativity at this time of year.
For the most part, my name has acted as a reminder to make the best of any situation. If you just think about how many mishaps occur during the holidays, it’s pretty clear that the greatest things aren’t great in the flawless sense. It’s the memories I make, laughs I share, tears I shed, and the fun I have that I’ll remember for life.
Every time I write my name on a paper or introduce myself, it gives me an opportunity to reflect on my most significant holiday memories. Though the majority of the memories are good, some are bittersweet, but all have definitely left a major mark on me. And I’m grateful for that because it’s made me appreciate the wonderful moments so much more. Like Christmas, good times don’t last forever; it’s up to us to appreciate what we have while we have it.
Thank you, Mom. I don’t know if you realized how much naming me Christmas would affect me when I was born, but it really has inspired me to embrace the positivity in any situation and to never stray from the hope of better times. Even when things get tough, my name will always be there to remind me that I was quite literally born to be merry and bright.