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What to Write in a Birthday Card for Every Occasion

Photo of Andy Cakebread Andy Cakebread 02 September 2022
A cake with candles spelling 'Happy Birthday'

According to Card Factory, the UK greeting card market stood at 811 million in 2021. Clearly, handing over and sending birthday cards is a regular part of life. But what if you want to go that extra mile and make a birthday card that just feels a bit more personal and special? One that allows everyone to really express themselves.

Whether you’re writing a birthday card for a parent, a spouse, a twenty-first, or a work colleague, the Thankbox team has put together some helpful lists of what to include. Let’s explore!

What to focus on in a birthday card

Before looking at birthday card message ideas, you must consider how to structure a birthday card properly.

Here are the main points you might want to touch on:

  • Include ‘Happy birthday’ of course. However, you don’t need it right at the beginning. You could include this early on or in the middle of a short paragraph. You could even say it at the end.

  • Mention why you appreciate them. Depending on who it is and your relationship, you may want to show some extra heart here.

  • Something worth noting that’s relevant to the occasion (e.g., how the past year has gone or positive wishes for the future). In other words, focus a message around the milestone of reaching a new year.

  • Consider including a funny or witty message toward the end.

  • Sign off with a final message (e.g., All the best, With love, etc.) and your name. If it’s a joint card, such as from you and your family, you could include all your names.

Whether or not you should include all of the above would depend on the card. Sometimes it makes sense to keep a birthday card short and sweet, while you’ll want to elaborate in other cases.

Thankbox birthday ecards allow you to write as little or as much as you like, so go with what feels most natural and suits the occasion.

Funny birthday card

Want to write something funny on a birthday card? Birthdays are a celebration! It only makes sense to keep things light-hearted and fun.

In the latter case, here’s what you could include in a funny birthday card:

  • Happy birthday from one of your worst influences 😉

  • Happy birthday. Older? Yes! Wiser… uhhh.  

  • Have a [prosecco] or two for me! (Or any other drink they like to celebrate with)

  • Please stop aging so gracefully, mix it up a little, for God’s sake!

  • You don’t look a day over 16 with my eyes closed! Love you 😘. Happy birthday!

  • I know you’ve wanted a yacht for the longest time and I have to tell you… that is never going to happen. 

  • You have me, so you already have the best birthday by default.

  • Go hard or go home! 

  • Today, it’s all about you! Then it’s back to me tomorrow.

A Thankbox birthday cake icon Let everyone say 'Happy Birthday' in real style.

Create a birthday Thankbox in seconds and invite everyone to make it personal. You'll ensure the birthday celebration is one to remember, and keep forever.

Birthday messages for professional relations

Wondering what to include in a birthday card for colleagues? Obviously, you want to keep it professional but not too serious, either. 

So, what to write on a co-worker's birthday card? Here are some messages to consider:

  • Have a great day, and best of luck with all that lays ahead!

  • You make work feel a lot less like work. Happy birthday!

  • Thanks for all you do, and have a wonderful day!

  • So I can’t claim credit for the birthday cake waiting for you in the canteen, but hey, I could have a slice in your honour :)

  • You’re rocking it this year! Have a great birthday!

To be a little more specific here are some ideas for what to include in a birthday card for your boss:

  • You inspire me to put in 110% each day. Happy birthday!

  • I hope the following year brings you more success and happiness.

  • Enjoy your day - you deserve it!

  • I’m so lucky to have you as my boss!

  • Wishing a brilliant day to a brilliant mentor!

Birthday messages for a child

If you’re used to writing cards for adults, you should keep a birthday card for a kid short, sweet, and fun. 

Here are a few ideas;

  • Happy birthday, champ! Have a great day!

  • Happy birthday to our favourite [five] year old.

  • [Name of child], how are you [seven] already?

  • Wow, [seven] already! You’re a big boy/girl now!

  • Have a fantastic [thirteenth birthday]. Hope you have great fun!

  • Yay! You’re [three] today. Happy birthday [name of child]!

  • [Name of child], I know you’re going to be an amazing [six] year old!

Birthday messages for a parent

You’ll probably want to write a birthday card with more sentimentality for a parent than most people.

Here are some thoughtful messages you might like to include:

  • You’re the best, mum!

  • Happy birthday to my hero!

  • You’ve always been an amazing father, and now you’re also a great friend. Happy birthday dad!

  • Happy birthday dad! I’m sure you’ll celebrate in style!

  • Wish I could be there to mark the occasion with you mum, have a wonderful day!

  • I’m so lucky to have you as my dad!:)

  • Thank you for everything mum 😘

  • Happy birthday mum/dad. Lots of love from [your name or your name and those of your family].

  • Happy birthday, mum. I hope you know how much we love and cherish you!

Looking for a way to save money and send birthday cards in a more eco-friendly way? With Thankbox, you can send digital cards for various occasions. Everyone, anywhere in the world can sign. You can even add photos, videos and GIFs to your messages and schedule sending for just the right time! 

Birthday messages for a partner

Whether you’re in a relationship or married, you’ll want a birthday card for that special someone to include some romantic affection. If you think it’s cheesy, why not give it a try? Either it will be cute or hilarious! 

Here are some ideas;

  • I’m so happy that you came into my world. Have a beautiful day!

  • Happy birthday, babes!

  • Wish I was with you so I could spoil you all day!

  • I hope you have the happiest day today. You deserve it. Forever and always!

  • You are my world and always will be.

You could also try being a bit saucy, but we’ll leave those ideas to you!

Twenty-first birthday card messages

A twenty-first birthday might be one of the most important in a person’s life. Sure, at eighteen, a person is legally an adult. But by twenty-one, there’s no going back. It’s a chance for that person to really go wild before embracing the rest of the journey called life. 

Here are a few ideas;

  • Have a great 21st… it’s all downhill from here! Just kidding. But go wild all the same!

  • 21 years of you being a muppet. Doesn’t time fly?

  • The world better watch out!

  • By 21, Jane Austen had completed Pride & Prejudice. But you’re still doing fab!

  • Let’s partaaaay tonight!

  • We are so proud of you. Happy 21st [insert name or nickname]!

Birthday messages for later milestones

If you’re wondering what to write in a milestone birthday card? Here’s a few ideas:

  • Looking back on your [X] years, I hope you have many wonderful and warm memories.

  • I hope your [Xth] birthday is as special as you. Have an amazing day!

  • I’m so lucky to have someone as wonderful as you in my life.

  • Congratulations on your [Xth] birthday!

  • At this rate, you might outlive us all! Have a wonderful birthday. With love [your name].

What else we offer at Thankbox

A thoughtful birthday card is well-received on a person’s special day.

Aside from writing a thoughtful group card to wish someone a happy birthday, you can use Thankbox on an ongoing basis to send engaging ecards and digital gift vouchers for various occasions.

Some of these occasions include:

  • Birthdays

  • Get well soon

  • Office cards

  • New baby

  • Christmas cards

  • Weddings

  • Wedding anniversaries

  • Bar and Bat Mitzvah

  • Graduations

  • Sympathy and condolences

  • Farewells

  • Retirements

  • General thank you

Here is our range of money-saving packages:

  • 10 prepaid Thankboxes - £41.99/€41.99/$50.99

  • 25 prepaid Thankboxes - £93.99/€93.99/$112.99

  • 50 prepaid Thankboxes - £159.99/€159.99/$194.99

*Each package has various additional features, including the option to upgrade specific Thankboxes to Premium.

Have your own thoughts on a perfect birthday message? Let us know!

A Thankbox birthday cake icon Let everyone say 'Happy Birthday' in real style.

Create a birthday Thankbox in seconds and invite everyone to make it personal. You'll ensure the birthday celebration is one to remember, and keep forever.

Image courtesy of Xiang Gao on Unsplash