Monday, December 15, 2014

Elf on the Shelf Names

After discussing the most popular dog names last week, I should probably turn my attention to a more seasonal question: What should you name your Elf on the Shelf?

Fred has a drinking problem.

We got our elf two years ago and named him Fred. It turns out that's the eighth most popular elf name.

Here are the rankings, courtesy of the Elf on the Shelf website. (Apparently people register their elves online, which is how the site gets the data. I wonder if people install tracking chips in their elves too.)
Top 20 Elf on the Shelf names:
1. Buddy
2. Elfie
3. Jingle
4. Snowflake
5. Jingles
6. Jack
7. Charlie
8. Fred
9. Chippy
10. Sparkle
11. Elfy
12. Holly
13. Max
14. Twinkle
15. Jolly
16. Elvis
17. Bob
18. Clyde
19. Peppermint
20. Nick
I like that my own name barely made the top 20 (in fairness, though, an elf named Nick sounds like trouble).

To make things interesting, I looked at how the elf names ranked for humans. The most popular was Jack, which was used 8,512 times last year. That was followed by Max and Charlie.
Number of humans receiving Elf on the Shelf names in 2013:
1. Jack (8,512)
2. Max (3,511)
3. Charlie (2,866)
4. Holly (681)
5. Clyde (195)
6. Elvis (184)
7. Nick (171)
8. Fred (101)
9. Buddy (21)
10. Bob (19)
11. Sparkle (12)
12. Chippy (0)
13. Elfie (0)
14. Elfy (0)
15. Jingle (0)
16. Jingles (0)
17. Jolly (0)
18. Twinkle (0)
19. Peppermint (0)
20. Snowflake (0)
Nine of the names were not used at all. (More precisely, they were used fewer than five times apiece. The Social Security Administration doesn't track names below that threshold.)

But Sparkle was used 12 times on actual humans last year. Amazing!

Now, I know what you're thinking: Is there a name that can serve people, elves and dogs? One name to rule them all.

Let's revisit the elf list, but only include the names that rank among the top 100 dog names and were chosen by at least five sets of parents last year.
Here's the result, with the dog rank in parentheses:
1. Jack (4)
2. Max (1)
3. Charlie (3 for males, 59 for females)
4. Holly (54)
5. Elvis (96)
6. Buddy (2)
We can probably eliminate Elvis and Buddy, since they're pretty uncommon among human offspring these days. (Elvis isn't that high with dogs either.)

That leaves us with Jack, Max, Charlie and Holly.

Four great names that you can literally give to anything (person, canine, elf doll). Go nuts!

UPDATE: I adapted a version of this post for Nameberry.com. You can find it here.