Knowing how to write good greeting card messages is a skill.
Who hasn’t occasionally thought that being a greeting card writer at Hallmark Cards would be a great job? Sitting in your climate-controlled office all day jotting down pearls of wisdom and funny sayings. It sounds like a dream job. But, even writing greeting card messages can be a challenge. You may be under pressure to be witty, romantic, thoughtful, or sympathetic.
You know your friend or family member will form an impression of you by the words you write. It’s important to string together a few sentences that have an impact. Whether you are writing to celebrate a birthday, commemorate an anniversary, or let a particular person know you care about them, a greeting card is a great vehicle to express your feelings.
Part of the trick is picking the right card. But, that’s just half the battle. The other blade of the scissors is including the right message on your card. We can help. Check out these tips on writing some good greeting card messages.
A Structure for Writing Greeting Card Messages
The message you write in a greeting card should vary based on what the card is acknowledging. In a thank you card, your message should refer to what you are thanking the person for. In an anniversary card, your note should convey your affection for a couple or significant other.
A birthday card note should be light and funny and reference the recipient’s age. A congratulatory note should reference the accomplishment of the person receiving the card. A sympathy card should contain a note that expresses your sadness over the loss of a special person.
How to Start a Greeting Card Message
A great self-made card is a get well soon card. This gesture demonstrates that you are concerned about the recipient. It also shows that you care enough to create the card yourself. An excellent way to start it would be – Things just aren’t the same without you here at the office. Then on the inside, it can say – Get well soon, these people are starting to bug me.
Birthday cards usually start with an age reference like – You’re aging like a fine wine, or, Exactly how old are you? Then the inside brings home the point with a phrase like – I’m thinking senior discount.
A congratulations card should start with a statement commemorating the achievement. Such as Way to go, You’ve really done it, This is something you deserve, or Wow, that’s impressive. Followed up on the inside with something like – Congratulations on your stellar achievement!
An anniversary card should start with a message from the heart. Examples include, I’m lost without you, You’re my everything, We belong together, or, The two of us are. This sets the right romantic tone to deliver a line on the inside like – Happy Anniversary to my better half!
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15 Tips for Greeting Card Messages
1.) Build to a Punch Line – In comedy, there is something known as “the rule of three.” It refers to setting up a punch line with three items first. For example: On the outside of the card it could say – Someone told me it was your birthday. I checked my calendar. Then, to be safe, I double-checked it. Inside of card – Sure enough, you are officially older than me.
2.) Use a Famous Quote – On our site, you can find quotes on virtually any subject. A great quote can be the basis for a great card. For an anniversary card, you could use this quote from A. A. Milne. “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.”
3.) Free Art on the Internet – You can find free clip art of almost any image on the Internet. Dogs, cats, balloons, confetti, food, etc. can all be found copied and used in your cards.
4.) P.S.’s Can be Fun – Following the end of your message, a P.S. statement can be used as a “topper.” A topper is a comedy expression for a joke on top of another joke. Here’s one: On the outside of the card it says – It’s true, some people compare us to oil and water. On the inside of the card it says – P.S.: Hmmm, I wonder which one of us is oil?
5.) The More the Merrier – If you are giving a card that’s coming from multiple people have everyone sign. This is especially true in the case of a whole office.
Make it Fun
6.) Look at Examples – Next time you are shopping check out some greeting cards. Look for styles that appeal to you and ways to say the kind of message you want to send.
7.) Add The Element of Surprise – People love a good surprise and in a greeting card, it is easy to do. The outside of the card has a frightening image of a monster. The inside of the card says, “Surprise – Happy Birthday!”
8.) Employ the Old Switcheroo – This is another classic comedy technique. You set a scene that the reader thinks is going to go in one direction. But the punch line comes from a completely different direction. The initial line of the card says, “Love is lovelier the second time around.” The second line notes, “I wonder if three is the charm?”
9.) Who’s Receiving the Card? – Is it a friend, family member, acquaintance, or coworker? The tone of the card’s message should change based on how well you know the recipient.
10.) It’s Time for a Rhyme – Everyone knows… “roses are red, violets are blue, this sugar is sweet, and so are you.” Okay, so this is a corny example. How about a message that says – I’ve never been so blue. I know our love is true. But it seems like all I do. And, concludes with – Is think about you!
Know Your Audience
11.) Consider the Recipient’s Age – If it is an elderly friend or relative, you may want to be more serious. If the recipient is a child, let yourself go, you can be silly. Also, if he/she is celebrating a milestone birthday like 10, 21, or 50, call it out.
12.) Use Conversational Language – The copy in the card should feel natural, not strained.
13.) Don’t Use Clichés – A cliché could be the death of a greeting card, stay away from them.
14.) Read it Multiple Times – Read the card several times so that you can make sure t delivers the message you want. Then check to see if the spelling and grammar are correct. Consider editing the text or changing words to make the card more impactful.
15.) Brevity is the Soul of Wit – Whatever you want to say, be brief. The recipient of a card does not want to spend minutes reading your prose.
How to Address the Envelope
Begin addressing the envelope by writing your name and address in the upper left-hand corner of the front of the envelope. Your name and address should be in three or four lines, and all lines should be justified to the left.
The order should be your name on top, then the next line is your street address (with an apartment number if appropriate). If the address is very long, split it into two lines. Finally, below the address is your City, State, and Zip Code.
The recipient’s name and address should be centered in the middle of the front of the envelope. Again, the recipient’s name and address should be in three or four lines with the same order as above.
Decorating the Envelope Ideas
A.) Here are some tips for decorating and embellishing the greeting card envelope:
B.) Even if you don’t have any drawing talent, a silly little illustration on the envelope is appropriate. It shows that you want to brighten someone’s day and are willing to put in a little extra effort.
C.) You can put a ticket stub, crumpled note, or picture referencing you and the recipient inside the envelope. This adds a friendly, personal touch that brings back memories.
D.) Stickers are fun to add to the envelope, and you can find them in craft stores, drug stores, or even at a dollar store.
E.) For a pleasant surprise, fill the envelope with glitter or confetti.
F.) Write a little message to the recipient on the outside of the envelope. This gives you an added opportunity to deliver a new sentiment to a friend, loved one, or coworker.
How To Sign A Greeting Card
Finally, it’s a good idea to sign your greeting card with a personal message to the recipient. Maybe it is an interest you share, a wish you know the person has, or a fond memory. Add this to the message when you sign, and your card will stand out from the rest.
If you don’t know the recipient very well, add a little levity to your message. People like to see funny things, and he/she will appreciate the extra effort.
— Tim Moodie
Tim Moodie is a freelance writer and product developer. He spent many years writing greeting cards, coffee mugs, and toilet paper for Recycled Paper Products. Also, he created the box copy for novelty gifts, including the Kinky Friedman and Jesse Ventura Action Figures.
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