Cool Name of the Week: Louisa 28210

What cool-name-of-the-week name really suits Christmas week? I couldn't think of anything better than Noel. Noel is the French word for "Christmas," and it's a name that works equally well for boys and girls. (For boys, it's usually pronounced more like "knoll," while girls often get the more feminine Noelle and the pronunciation know-well.)

The traditional spelling, Noel, is more popular for boys—currently in the top 500 names for boys in the U.S., it hasn't fallen out of the top 1000 names in well over a century. (Whether that's due to the popularity of playwright Noel Coward, the current love for British band Oasis and its off-and-on frontman, Noel Gallagher, or just Christmas-loving baby namers is up for debate.) For girls, though, "Noel" fell out of favor in 1998, when it last charted in the top 1000. But the more feminine Noelle is still popular, charting in the top 400 names in the U.S.

Personally, I love Noel the most for boys. I'd skip the seasonally appropriate middle names (no Nicholas, Rudolph or Angel), and pair it with a longer middle name: Alexander, Gregory or Jackson. For girls, Eve or Joy give you that Christmas vibe if you want to stay in the theme, or I like middle names that have an "L" in them: Elizabeth, Eleanor or Clementine would be my picks.

Do you think Noel's a name that works only for a baby born around Christmas, or is it a year-round pick? Would you pick it for your baby?

Be sure to like me on Facebook to keep up with the latest on baby names! Oh, and happy holidays (or Joyeux Noel)!

Photo: Pregnant woman via Ronald Summers/