By dinner time, you can find them all over the living room: lying slack on the sofa, casually tossed in the middle of the carpet, perched on a windowsill. They are pink or yellow, brown and green. They have cute little button eyes and floppity ears and (in one case) tusks. They are Bean’s stuffed menagerie. They surround us.
Naturally, when you share your environment with a creature– even one made of cotton and polyester, you ought to give it a name. But what do you name it?
Here are a few ideas for naming your stuffed animals.
1. Don’t go for the obvious. “Fluffy” for a cat. A bear named Teddy. These are sweet, but obvious names. Pick something you wouldn’t expect.
2. Don’t try too hard. Nice ordinary names work just fine, as with our tusky, somewhat blurry ladyfriend in the picture above: Juliet, the Woolly Mammoth. “Tuskarella”, “Mammuthus Primigenius”: these are a bit OTT.
3. Honorifics can work. Throw a “Doctor” or a “Sergeant” on the front of an otherwise ordinary name. It makes a silly toy seem even sillier because it’s trying to be serious, e.g.:
(These really are terrible photos, sorry). It is possible to go overboard with the titles, though, so the next rule…
4. Keep it short. … needs to be taken into account. You don’t want it getting to the point where your stuffed animal collection sounds like a pedigree dog breeder’s registry or a race horse call sheet. So no “Snuggle’s Multi-Pawed Delight Bucket”.
5. Be careful about namesakes. Some people don’t like it when you name a family pet or even a stuffed animal after them. It’s possible to buy stuffed spiders and rats at Ikea; resist the urge to buy one and name it after, say, a particularly unpleasant in-law. Especially if he or she will be around for Christmas dinner.
Ignore these rules if: The toy in question has been inherited (“Big Ted”, a 40-year-old bear who lives with us, will always be “Big Ted”). And once the kid starts talking, she gets to pick the names herself. Even if she names the toy rat “Mummy” and the duck “Pond James Pond 007”.