Birthday cake with lots of candles on

What to write in a birthday card

So you’ve found the perfect card for your best friend, brother, or godmother, and now you just need to think of a birthday message to write inside.

Selling cards online, I’ve written quite a few birthday cards for people who have sent them directly to the recipient and left the message for me to include, and if your mind goes blank beyond putting ‘happy birthday’ and signing your name, I can assure you that you’re not alone. In this blog post, I’ve collated some ideas to make it a lovely, meaningful card they will cherish and possibly giggle at.

Profound or playful, have a read through these ideas and see what jumps out for you. Mix, match, and tailor to your recipient until you have something that feels right for your neighbour, sister-in-law, granny, dad or daughter…

You don’t have to write a novel – even a couple of lines will make your card so much more personal and expressive. Nothing, not even the best designed card, is going to be as precious to the recipient as your handwritten words.

Send a friendly note.

This can be simple and casual, nothing personal or particularly unique. Something along the lines of…

  • Wishing you all the good stuff in the world for your birthday!
  • Celebrating another year of you, here’s to the next one.
  • Have a great birthday, full of cake, friends, dancing and fizz!
  • Hope you have a great big slice of happiness along with a great big slice of cake!
  • I hope your birthday is even better than a dress with pockets!
Thanking God for another year of you birthday card

Add in a thoughtful quote.

You could then use the words of someone famous to bring some humour or wisdom to your birthday card message. Here are a few options, or you could include a favourite quote or one by someone they particularly love and admire.

  • “Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.” Tennessee Williams
  • “You’re never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Les Brown
  • “Birthdays were made for going wild over the people we think are amazing.” Richelle E. Goodrich
  • “The older you get the better you get, unless you are a banana.” Betty White
  • “ With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” William Shakespeare
  • “You know you’re getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.” Bob Hope
  • “Count your age by friends, not years, your life by smiles, not tears.” John Lennon
  • “Every day is a gift. But some days are packaged better.” Sanhita Baruah

Happy birthday - here’s to more adventures camping birthday card

Share a Bible verse.

A Christian friend will love reading a verse chosen specifically for them. Here are some of my favourites to include in a birthday card, but you can write whichever you feel is best suited to them or which has special meaning to you.

Pay a compliment.

There’s never a bad time to compliment someone, but it’s lovely to take the opportunity of a birthday to celebrate what a lovely person they are: witty, creative, a great mum, bold, faithful… (the more specific you can be, the better!)

Here are some other suggestions of thing you could write to encourage and cheer them on.

  • You are my favourite human on the whole planet. I am so thankful we are alive at the same time!
  • Happy birthday to my clever, honest, funny friend!
  • Praying you have the very best of days, you incredible woman!
  • You get more amazing with every passing year. Hope your day’s amazing too!
  • May your celebrations be as zesty as you are.
  • You are the most daring person I know - here’s to more adventures!
  • You’re always someone I can depend on: observant, gentle and compassionate. Thank you for being such a great friend.

Celebrate what you particularly love and admire about the birthday girl or birthday boy.

Have a cracking birthday card

Say something light hearted or tongue-in-cheek

Lighten the mood slightly from all the mushy emotions! Something like:

  • Happy birthday chum! You really aren’t showing your age… or acting it!
  • Happy birthday to the best husband ever! (except when you’re being really annoying)
  • Nothing says happy birthday like a piece of folded card.
  • Who needs a birthday gift when you have me as your best friend?
  • Happy birthday to someone who is smart, beautiful, humble and always reminds me of myself.
  • Our ages were getting close for a bit there, but it looks like I won’t be catching you up anytime soon after all.
  • This time next year, you’ll be forty.

Bring to mind a memory

You can continue along the funny lines of the cheeky comments. Think about what comes to mind when you think of them - what is a funny memory you have together or do you remember when you met?

I remember when we met - I’m so thankful for that day. We were…
Do you remember that time we…
My favourite memory of us is…

60 years wise birthday card with sixty candles

Tell them how you feel

Most people don’t have deep, purposeful talk with the people they love very often, and that can cause regret. I’ve written about how to make small talk less small here, and plan to write more about having good, intentional, soul feeding chat with pals and family in the near future. Adding what they mean to you into their birthday card means it could make this kind of conversation easier and more natural to have in person and it might just become a card they treasure forever.

  • You are such a gift - I’m truly grateful for your friendship.
  • You’re the main reason I’m smiling today - you’re the best friend ever!
  • Today’s a great opportunity to tell you how much you’re loved and I appreciate everything you do for me - the big things and the little things.
  • You are so easy to talk to, and when I’m with you I feel at home.
  • You’re such a beautiful person, inside and out.
  • I’d be thinking about you today even if it wasn’t your birthday. 

If nothing else, it’s wonderful to simply tell someone you love them. You could sign off simply with “love” and your name, or “lots of love”, “love you loads” or “I love you”. Just tell them!

If you still need a card to write this amazing message in, you can see my full range of birthday cards here.

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