Last time in ‘Everything You Need to Know About Birthday Cards’, we looked at all the basics of birthday cards:
- Types of birthday cards
- When you’re expected to give someone a birthday card
- Choosing a birthday card design
- Kids birthday cards versus adult birthday cards
- The basics of wording a birthday card.
This time round, we’re going to look a bit deeper at that last point. What should you write in a birthday card?
About birthday card greetings
When you’re writing a birthday card, the pressure is on to include just the right message. The birthday greeting should always be carefully tailored for the recipient and should reflect your relationship to them.
As we discussed in part I, there are five key questions to ask that will help you write the best birthday card message possible. These questions are:
- To whom are you writing? Use the name you normally call them and match the tone you’re intending to take with the card. If you always call your brother ‘Bobo’ and the card is intended to be light-hearted and funny, address him that way! There’s no rule that you have to call him ‘Robert John’, and this will sound a little strange unless it’s part of a serious message about how he has overcome hardship in the past year or something similar. Go with what feels natural and comfortable, and don’t worry about what is ‘proper’.
- What sort of relationship do you have with this person? The tone of the birthday card should be based on your existing relationship with the person. If you’re close and used to joking around all the time, it’s totally fine to carry that through to the birthday card. If you are more distant or have a more formal relationship, it’s best not to try to force humour or banter. Jokes can easily be misread on paper if someone is not already very familiar with your sense of humour.
- What wishes do you have for their coming year? A birthday is all about the year just gone, the day itself, and the year ahead. It’s a good idea to hit all these points in your birthday card greeting. You’re unlikely to forget to say “I hope you have a wonderful day”, but it’s easy to leave the future out of things. Wish your friend health, wealth and happiness as creatively as you like. This can be practical (‘I hope you love your new job at the bank, and it all gets off to a great start!’) or just fun (‘I hope you win the lottery and can finally buy your first Ferrari this year’).
- What kind of memories do you share with this person? Again, a birthday is all about the past and the future. Think back on your past with the birthday boy or birthday girl and consider what stands out. What will you never forget? How did you meet? Have they helped you or supported you through something? Have they been part of something hilarious that makes you laugh every time it comes up? Whether it’s serious or funny, this is a great way of filling space on a birthday card and making the recipient feel appreciated and loved.
- Is this card accompanying a gift? If you’re giving someone a gift along with the card, it’s a good idea to mention that. It might seem rude, but it’s definitely not! Just don’t say it like “I got you a t-shirt”. Say something like “I hope the t-shirt fits! I saw it on my trip to Disneyland and figured it was perfect for you since you love Pinocchio so much!” A note like this will help your friend remember who gave them what and make it easy to write thank you notes later on. It also lets you explain why you chose the gift you did, which makes the gift seem even more thoughtful than it would have been on its own.
So following those guidelines, what sort of phrases, sentences and wording might you incorporate in your birthday card greeting? We’ve got a collection on hand to help you decide.
Happy birthday greetings and heartfelt greetings for birthday cards
May your birthday be filled with all the love, joy and celebration you deserve.
I hope this year brings you all the love and happiness in the world.
I’m so excited to share this special day with you. Happy birthday!
May your birthday be as special as you are.
May you be richly blessed today, tomorrow and in the year to come.
Here’s to a wonderful birthday, and many more ahead.
Wishing you health, wealth and happiness.
Funny birthday greetings
Today is the oldest you have ever been but the youngest you will ever be again…You’re only getting older, slower and fatter.
Happy thirteenth 28th birthday.
Congratulations on finally looking your age.
You know you’re old when there are more candles than there are people celebrating with you.
Happy birthday to Mum and Dad’s second favourite child.
I promise to remember the correct lie about how old you are, just as soon as we’re done celebrating.
I hope age never stops you from challenging yourself…you can start with the challenge of blowing out all those birthday candles.
Old enough to know better…young enough to do it anyway.
Birthdays are God’s way of telling us to eat more cake.
Birthday card wording examples
Happy 21st birthday, beautiful! I hope you have a day that’s as fabulous as you are. Such a loving friend as you deserves all the love in the world on your day. May the year ahead bring you great success in your studies and happiness in every area of your life. I’ll always be glad for the memories of talking till the sun came up at sleepovers and going to hockey games to scope out they who shall not be named. I hope you like the gift and that it fits you! I figured the colour would look perfect with your eyes. Have a brilliant day and enjoy celebrating.
Happy birthday! We hope you have a chance to kick back and celebrate with friends and family over the long weekend. Looking forward to working with you more in the coming months.
Joel & the team.
God, you’re getting old! There’s going to be more candles on the cake than there are people at the party tonight. We’re pretty glad that you’re around and getting older, though. Every year with you in our lives is a good one. Enjoy the celebrations, and have a very happy birthday!
Love, Emma, Jack and Ryan.
Hopefully all this helps get you started writing birthday cards for your family, friends and clients next time a birthday invitation shows up in your mailbox. If in doubt, be honest, be upbeat, and be kind. Help the recipient feel loved and appreciated, to help make their day special.
Next time – Everything You Need to Know About Birthday Cards, Part III – we discuss birthday quotes and bring you the ultimate list to help you choose the perfect quotes to include in a birthday card. Make sure you’re here, you won’t want to miss it!