What to write in people's birthday cards?
March 17, 2005 6:48 AM   Subscribe

As the fourth "collectively-signed birthday card for a colleague" this week passed my desk today I realised that I just couldn't come up with anything clever, trite, humourous, etc. to say....

....I mean, "Happy Birthday, Jon!" is so boring. My usual standard is: "May the best of your past be the worst of your future" but I feel like I need more inspiration. What do you write in birthday cards that get passed around the office?
posted by lazywhinerkid to Grab Bag (21 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think you should worry about it too much; I don't think people read those sort of things too closely ("Wow, lazywhinerkid only wrote 'Happy Birthday'- what a dick!"). A nice "I hope you enjoy your birthday!" or something similar is what I usually write.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:50 AM on March 17, 2005 [1 favorite]

The best birthday card comments are specifically tailored to the person in question, some in-joke perhaps, so I don't know that we'll be able to help you.

Try thinking back over your relationship with the person for something to reference.
posted by orange swan at 7:03 AM on March 17, 2005

I usually write "May all your hopes and dreams come true."

That way, the fun people know I'm being ironic and the lame people think I'm being sweet.

Sometimes I write "I'm sorry for your loss. You will be in my thoughts and prayers." because I'm all wacky like that.
posted by bondcliff at 7:13 AM on March 17, 2005

Response by poster: I hear both ThePinkSuperhero and orange swan on both counts, but the Irish part of me likes to add on trite little sayings in addition to a more personal note!
posted by lazywhinerkid at 7:15 AM on March 17, 2005

How about asking Jon why his parents didn't name him Patrick?

*kisses whinerkid's irish part*
posted by danOstuporStar at 7:20 AM on March 17, 2005

I usually write something to the effect of "Hope you have a lousy birthday", or "Hope your day is miserable" which usually gets a laugh. Really - people love it. I guess it wouldn't go over well for a boss' card, but I work in a small office where everyone is pretty much on equal footing. I also draw something little and cute and doodle-ish on the card, like a heart with a face, or a bunny or something.

(I can almost hear the clicks as people remove me from their contacts list)
posted by iconomy at 7:32 AM on March 17, 2005

Oh, okay, you want to be trite.

For birthdays, I sometimes write, "Enjoy being Queen (or King) for a day!".
posted by orange swan at 7:45 AM on March 17, 2005

I always sign those cards "Happy Birthday from Bob in Accounting" using my girly girl handwriting and knowing full well that there is no Bob in Accounting and that the birthday person knows there is no Bob in Accounting.
posted by jodic at 8:00 AM on March 17, 2005 [1 favorite]

Remember, if you can't think of anything clever or amusing, you can always go for the bathetic. I like to write, "Jesus loves you more than anyone on this Earth ever will."
posted by orthogonality at 8:07 AM on March 17, 2005

How about my personal fav (which is a touch Canadian, so...)

"May all your up and downs be in bed, and may all your blues be Labatt's!"

Labatt's Blue is a Canadian beer, which may or may not still exsist
posted by Quartermass at 8:31 AM on March 17, 2005

Personal fav, if a tad long winded:

As you slide down the bannister of life, may all the splinters point in the right direction.

posted by snowgoon at 8:42 AM on March 17, 2005

Best answer: My first "professional" workplace experience was a head-first dive into the corporate headquarters of a national retail giant. New to the environment, I was constantly entertained by every stereotypical Dilbert-Meets-Office-Space corporate cliche that I encountered. I used to make fun of it quite a bit, which was disappointing only in that very few ever "got" the jokes.

The "company birthday card" was one of my favorite traditions: A bunch of people to whom you you marginally ever speak getting together to fein appreciation for the day you were born. Awesome.

Every year, I'd print off a sheet of these tags and whenever it was birthday card time, I'd fill one out and tape it into the card. The best results came from making it look as careless as possible (mispelling their name, forgetting to fill in the blanks, and/or cutting off half of the tag "inadvertently").

posted by Hankins at 8:43 AM on March 17, 2005 [11 favorites]


Remember: Life is like a bowl of peppers, what you do today may burn your arse tomorrow.
posted by snowgoon at 8:43 AM on March 17, 2005

Hankins, that's fantabulous. Gotta love the clip art, too!

*fires up the printer*
posted by iconomy at 8:52 AM on March 17, 2005

I always write Party On, Dude - or Dudette. For some reason this makes me popular. at least I think that's why. If I'm popular.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:36 AM on March 17, 2005

"Happy Birthday, John! Try and make the best of your last year alive!"
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 9:47 AM on March 17, 2005

Your 30th birthday? Seems like it was just yesterday you were sitting on the couch all day watching cartoons, playing video games, and picking your nose.

Oh, wait, that was yesterday.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:16 AM on March 17, 2005

I just write out "Get well soon!" on any card passed around the office, regardless of the occasion. It seems to work pretty well.
posted by trondant at 11:28 AM on March 17, 2005 [1 favorite]

I draw a cartoon pic of me sticking my tongue out and something like, "Man, you're old. Good for you. Love, Gucky"

Then again, I have a strange rep around the office for being weird already, so I can get away with it.
posted by Gucky at 4:42 PM on March 17, 2005

I write one of the following:

For nerdy friends:
"Thinking of Maud, you forget everything else..."
"Green wizard needs cake badly!"
"All your birthday are belong to us."
"Sort your FUCKING life out, mate." (or "You've got red on you.")

For work:

"This birthday greeting is intended only for the use of the addressee and may contain confidential or legally privileged information. The greeting extended by the author is not a greeting from the Department unless explicitly stated as such by an officer with an appropriate security clearance or delegation..." (and so on, until I've filled up all of one side of the card - great if you're the first person to sign it).

"Ted, I really need you to cover for me at the meeting with the Parl Sec next Wednesday. Thanks heaps."

If I'm first with the card:

A recipe for something I think they'd like. Long, involved recipes that fill up the entire card before anybody else can sign it are best.

For people I don't know at all:

"Dear Tony: It must be months since we've had a really good chat, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to let you know how we're all going. We had a marvellous time in Orange recently - the veal at Lolli Redini was really top-notch, though we were disappointed not to get a booking at Selkirks, but it's like the fucking Hamptons for Sydneysiders out there now, isn't it? All these pretentious wankers in their Mini Coopers and turtlenecks. Just dreadful. Anyway, Orange. Late March really is the best time to visit, don't you think..."

"Graham, it's not working, and I can't live like this anymore. I don't care who knows about us, and I can't believe you're going to stand there stuffing your face with cake and laughing with everybody like nothing happened after the way you treated me last night..."
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:53 PM on March 17, 2005 [10 favorites]

The best comment I ever received on a birthday card (and I suspect this won't be too useful for a work colleague but you never know) was:

"May your toilet be filled with a resplendent plethora of giant eupeptic turds."

I can't see Hallmark using that one, but it certainly made me lose my coffee.
posted by Decani at 5:38 AM on March 19, 2005

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