The new year has started with a bang! The birth announcements have been full of rare names and surprising choices.聽In聽a few weeks, we鈥檒l see more traditional names in the mix, but for the moment, it鈥檚 easy to believe that parents are putting tradition in the past to embrace modern names with relatively limited histories of use. Scroll on for nine聽creative baby聽names that might just start 2016鈥檚 biggest baby name trends.


1. Ace Wells: Kandi Burruss joined The Real Housewives of Atlanta in season two, and has been with the show ever since. The singer-songwriter and husband Todd Tucker welcomed their son, Ace Wells, last week. Ace joins Kandi鈥檚 teenaged daughter, Riley. Ace is a defining name聽that is starting to feel mainstream. With the 鈥渟鈥 ending, middle name聽Wells feels equally on trend.

2. Brax Brandon: Max and Jax have been huge in recent years, and actor Dax Shepard boosted his unusual given name too. Now聽Names for Real has spotted a Brax Brandon. His name appears in the same roundup as Jack Valentine and Lux Payton. From the classic to the invented, parents love those short names for boys. Nearly 100 boys have been named Brax since 2010.

3. Cruz Achille: ABC News correspondent Mara Schiavocampo and husband Tommie Porter are now parents to a second child. Cruz聽joins big sister Nina Isabella. Both names have a certain global appeal:聽a mix of Spanish, Italian and French. Achille honors Mara鈥檚 grandfather. Cruz has ranked in the US Top 300 for the last three years, a once unusual choice that now feels very current in 2016.

4. Hodge William:聽Hodge fits the short, modern names for boys trend perfectly, and yet this Names for Real find is truly old school.聽Hodge first emerged as a nickname for Roger in medieval England. The noble Roger has been fading since the end of the Mad Men聽era. And while聽we聽wouldn鈥檛 count out a future Roger revival, nickname-form Hodge feels more interesting today.

5. Chosen Sebastian:聽NFL quarterback Cam Newton and girlfriend Kia Proctor recently gave this lots-to-live-up-to name to a son. The couple kept the pregnancy and birth quiet, and have yet to comment on their unusual name choice. However, the Carolina聽Panthers player has been vocal about his faith, so it may be that Chosen has a spiritual meaning, putting this name in the same category as Bodhi and Messiah.

6. Rey, Finn and Poe:聽Yes, we鈥檙e聽talking about Star Wars: The Force Awakens names again. This time, it鈥檚 because they were voted Fictional Character Names of the Year by the American Name Society. One of the arguments in favor of the trio鈥檚 triumph? Their likely impact on what we will name our children in the years to come.

7. Love Lily:聽Preston Brust, of country music duo LoCash, is a new dad! The singer-songwriter and wife Kristen welcomed daughter聽Love Lily last week. Love has a long history of occasional use as a given name, but has been climbing lately. In 2014, 127 girls were named Love, along with 12 boys. Terrence Howard welcomed son Qirin Love in 2015. Could it also be a nod to dad鈥檚 biggest single? LoCash鈥檚 Top Ten hit, I Love This Life, recently became the duo鈥檚 most successful release to date.

8. Clio:聽Speaking of obscure names that could be set to climb, Clio is聽the name of one of the main characters in Aidan Donnelly Rowley鈥檚 new novel, The Ramblers. It鈥檚 not exactly another Star Wars, but that almost makes it better. It could be just enough exposure for this ancient o-ending girls鈥 name to join Willow, Margot and Harlow聽in the US Top 1000.

9.聽Winter:聽Speaking of Willow, is this seasonal choice the hottest nature name for girls? In fairytale-inspired YA sensation The Lunar Chronicles, Winter is an updated version of Snow White. It鈥檚 also the name of interior designer Brittany Hayes鈥 younger daughter. The Hayes family home was recently featured on Design Mom鈥檚 Living with Kids series. That鈥檚 about as stylish as it gets!

What unique baby name would you add to this list? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!

This was originally published on Nameberry聽by聽Abby Sandel.聽Photo via Getty