Sep 23 2020
When the card has already said it all or you just feel like keeping things short and sweet, a few short, sweet words might be the way to go. Here are some ideas for adding a little extra warmth and personality.
Writing tip: One of our writers said she chooses her cards very carefully for each birthday person, so that she doesn’t have to add much in the way of a personal message. In other words, it’s fine to let the printed message and design do most of the talking for you. Even professional writers do it!
The milestone birthday person might not wake up feeling like this birthday is particularly special or different from any other. So, it’s your job to let him or her know what a big deal it is to have a nice, round-number birthday!
Writing tip: Ages 16, 18, 21, 30, 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95 and 100 are traditionally considered milestones. Cards specific to these birthdays will feature the age number prominently in their design, but you can make any card a milestone card (or any birthday a milestone birthday) by writing that shiny new
age number somewhere in your personal message.
Sharing a laugh in a funny birthday card is a great way to personalise a card for someone you know well.
Writing Tip: Try to sound like you’re talking. If you say “like” all the time, write “like” a lot. That way, they’ll read the card and hear you talking, and think of you laughing with them.
Late really is better than never. So, if life, memory lapse or something else entirely different has distracted you from their big day, send it anyway. You can include a sincere or humorous apology…or just frame it as your way of extending the birthday fun!
Writing tip: Cards made specifically for belated birthdays are good for when you remember the birthday after the fact. However, if you already have the card but just didn’t get it delivered on time, stick with what you’ve got. You can mention its lateness in your personal message—or not. It’s really your call.
Sometimes you just want to tell someone, “Thanks for being a good friend.” A birthday card is a great way to do just that.
Writing tip: If you’ve chosen a blank or just-for-fun card simply because you know your friend would like it, you can easily make it a birthday card by mentioning birthday somewhere in your personal message. Friendship is flexible like that!
What you write to your mum on her birthday will depend on the kind of relationship the two of you share. In general, love, appreciation, and upbeat wishes are a good bet. If she’s got a healthy sense of humour, feel free to make her laugh. You can always keep it light one year and go more heartfelt the next.
Writing Tip: Sharing a birthday memory can be a fun idea for mum, too: “I still remember you all dressed up to go out for your 40th birthday. I thought I had the prettiest mum in the world. I still do.”
Love, thanks, and warm wishes make good birthday messages for dad, too. Again, let your relationship be your guide, and write from the heart.
Writing Tip: Even a dad who never gets mushy in person can still appreciate a warm and loving written message. Cards are a perfect vehicle for saying the heartfelt things that can be hard to say face-to-face.
If you don’t like to write a lot on a birthday card, then send more cards to kids, because even those who have learned to read are often too excited to sit through a very long message. Keep your wish short, sweet and fun, and your card will be a hit with the birthday kid.
Writing tip: Some adults might not want to be reminded of their new age, but kids will love seeing that you know exactly how old they are now! If it’s not already printed on the card, be sure to write the birthday kid’s age somewhere in your message.
If you’re married to, or dating, the birthday boy or girl, this is a great opportunity to let them know just how much you care. Depending on your circumstances, it might also be a great chance for a little flirtatious fun.
Writing tip: Using your private nicknames for each other can instantly make a the simplest of messages that much more personal, but no matter what you say, make sure you use words that sound like you and come from the heart.
Chances are, your family members will be getting a lot of birthday cards from you through the years, so you can mix it up and write a longer personal message some years and a shorter message others. Love, compliments and warm wishes all work nicely for family, as so do, “proud of you” and “I’m glad we’re family” messages.
Writing tip: If your card doesn’t specifically mention your family relationship with the recipient, include it in your personal message. You can either address the recipient by the name you use for them, or mention the relationship (sister, cousin, etc.) somewhere in your message.
Birthdays are happy occasions that sometimes fall during tough times, including illness, job loss, a death or other challenging circumstances. A birthday card is a great way to let them know know you’re still thinking of (and celebrating) him or her even in the midst of a difficult year.
Writing tip: Humour can be a great day-brightener even in the midst of a hard time. If you know the birthday person appreciates a good laugh, feel free to choose a funny card and/or add a humorous personal message.
Let your relationship guide you when signing a birthday card for a co-worker. If it’s someone you’re close to, you can be as casual in your message as you would with nonwork friends. If it’s your supervisor or someone with whom you have a relationship that’s more strictly about work, then keep your message more formal.
Writing tip: Try not to talk shop when signing a card to a work colleague, your card is a place for official birthday business only.
Here are some ideas for when you’re the umpteenth person to sign the birthday card, and all the obvious messages (and most of the space) have already been taken.