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What to Write in a Birthday Card


You’ve chosen the perfect card for your best friend, sibling, or work colleague…  and now you’ve got to think of a birthday message to write inside. If your mind goes blank beyond putting ‘happy birthday’ plus your name, I’ve put together some ideas and suggestions that could fill the gap.

From heartfelt to playful, have a read through and see what jumps out for you. Mix, match, and adapt until you have something that feels right for your nan, cousin, parent, nephew, niece, neighbour…

It doesn’t have to be lengthy – just a couple of lines can make your card so much more personal and meaningful. (Because even though I put a LOT of thought into making gorgeous cards, nothing’s going to be as precious to the recipient as your handwritten words.)


Send a sweet thought


Send your warm wishes – it can be simple and casual:

  • Thinking of you on your birthday, and wishing you all good things
  • Here’s to the year ahead! Hope it’s a great one for you.
  • Have a beautiful birthday, full of cake, wishes, joy, and love
  • Wishing you a great big slice of happiness
  • I hope your birthday is as wonderful as you are
  • Hope you are rocking your birthday, doing whatever you want!


Add a compliment


A birthday is the perfect time to celebrate what a lovely person they are: funny, caring, glamorous, artistic, clever, sweet… (the more specific you can be, the better!)

  • Happy birthday to my charming, eccentric, funny friend!
  • You deserve the very best of days, you brilliant person.
  • Happy birthday to one of my favourite humans of all time. The world is lucky to have you in it.
  • You get more amazing every year. Hope your day’s amazing too!
  • May your celebrations be as elegant as you are.
  • You’re the most hilarious person I know.
  • You’re always someone I can depend on: kind, smart and thoughtful. Thank you for being such a great friend.


Time for a memory


Whether it’s a birthday you celebrated together or just something that comes to mind when you think of them:

  • Do you remember that time we…
  • Thinking about you today, I remember…
  • My favourite memory of us is…

Share a thoughtful quote


If inspiration isn’t flowing, borrow some meaningful words from someone famous!

  • “We turn not older with years, but newer every day.” Emily Dickinson
  • “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” Anais Nin
  • “If we could be twice young and twice old we could correct all our mistakes.” Euripides
  • “Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.” Tennessee Williams
  • “The only thing better than singing is more singing.” Ella Fitzgerald
  • “Live long and prosper.” Mr. Spock
  • “The older you get the better you get, unless you are a banana.” Betty White


Be playful (or a little cheeky)


  • You’re the only reason I survive family get-togethers
  • Well done for being born!
  • Happy birthday! You really aren’t showing your age… or acting it!
  • Nothing says happy birthday like a piece of folded card.
  • Happy birthday to someone who’s smart, charming, gorgeous, and always reminds me of myself.
  • Thank you for always being older than me.
  • Being related to me is the only gift you need.
  • Adulting is optional. Enjoy your day!

Tell them what they mean to you


We may not have deep and meaningful conversations with people we love very often, and that can be a kind of regret later on. Adding how you feel about them into their birthday card means it might just become a card they treasure forever.

  • You are a gift to the world (and to me! Being your friend is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received.)
  • I hope you know how much I appreciate you – you make my life better in so many ways. It’s impossible to put into words.
  • Today’s a great opportunity to tell you how much you’re loved for exactly who you are, and how much you’re appreciated for everything you do.
  • Hoping your birthday is as full of as much fun and laughter as you fill our lives with, every single day.
  • I’d be thinking about you today even if it wasn’t your birthday.  
  • Whenever I want to do the right thing, I just think: What would you do? Thank you for being an amazing example by just being you.
  • On your birthday and every day, I’m so proud to be your friend.

If nothing else, it’s wonderful to simply tell someone you love them. (You don’t even need a card to do it. Go tell them; tell them now!)

But if you do happen to want a card as well, come and find my full range here.

Rock Paper Swan Blog

Creating colourful cards and gifts to brighten your day.

Hi, I'm Amy - welcome to the blog!

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