New ways to say Happy Birthday
February 14, 2012 8:35 PM   Subscribe

Can you help me come up with alternative ways to say happy birthday? I'm tired of writing the same old things when I send friends birthday cards/texts/etc. Looking for creative, thoughtful, and/or poetic ways to send someone birthday wishes. Bonus points for literary references or foreign language translations that have a slightly different connotation than "Happy Birthday"
posted by robverb to Grab Bag (34 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
I usually write "Happy bidet!" on friends' Facebook walls. It's a little odd, but if they read it out loud, it approximates "b-day."

And now it feels even sillier having explained the thought process.
posted by me3dia at 8:51 PM on February 14, 2012 [5 favorites]

This may fall into the "you had to be there" category but in college we rearranged a banner once so it said "drippy haybath" and now within our group, that's been the way we say it to each other for 20 years.

You could also wish them bon voyage on (more or less) another trip around the sun on this blue-green ball of ours.

Here's another, since every day besides their birthday is their un-birthday, you could wish them a happy un-un-birthday.
posted by punocchio at 9:04 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I usually go with "Happy birthday! All right, now back to work."
posted by Etrigan at 9:06 PM on February 14, 2012

Ones that I've seen on my (and others) Facebook walls:

Hippo Birdy Two Ewes
Congratulating them on the anniversary of their birth

I usually say something like YOU! BIRTHDAY! NOW! EXCLAMATION POINTS! or HARPY BIRFDAY or something equally adult.
posted by Lucinda at 9:09 PM on February 14, 2012

Tell them what they mean to you.

"Happy birthday! I'm really glad you're in my life. You make me smile every day!"

Or something along those lines. It's personal and it means something to both of you.
posted by inturnaround at 9:14 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Happy Birthday! Many happy returns of the day!
posted by Specklet at 9:23 PM on February 14, 2012

Somewhat Community-inspired: "Happy anniversary of your expulsion from a uterus!"
posted by lovedbymarylane at 9:24 PM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

I try to say something personal / refer to a fun anecdote / etc. and if I can't think of something beyond "happy birthday" I usually don't say anything at all (unless I think they need the attention).
posted by moxiedoll at 9:26 PM on February 14, 2012

posted by illenion at 9:32 PM on February 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

(As Winnie the Pooh's friend Owl would say)
posted by illenion at 9:33 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

illenion I use that one all the time! The House at Pooh Corner was my absolute favorite growing up.
posted by hellomina at 9:48 PM on February 14, 2012

I often substitute the person's first name for "birth", eg. "Happy Matt Day!"

If I'm really fond of the person, I'll say something about how glad I am that they were born.
posted by jesourie at 10:32 PM on February 14, 2012

I have a friend whose standard Facebook birthday post is "I'm glad you were born." Which is lovely, though has become a bit repetitive since we have so many FB friends in common. Though I have definitely thought to use it in a card.
posted by apricot at 10:39 PM on February 14, 2012

"Happy Born-day!"
posted by honey-barbara at 11:21 PM on February 14, 2012

Maybe not what you're looking for, but my friends who have their b-days on humorous or obscure holidays get their well-wishes in the form of that day instead. "Happy Flag Day!", for example.
posted by hwyengr at 11:36 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm fond of "Congratulations for surviving another year!" or "Congratulations on living to see [AGE]!", with the additional point that if the recipient is over 25, they would be heading into middle age were they born a few centuries ago, and if the recipient is over 50, they would almost certainly be dead by now.

Or if I'm talking to someone I don't know very well, Alles Gute [zum Geburtstag].
posted by cmonkey at 1:01 AM on February 15, 2012

"You made it. I am glad. What's next?"

Someone I knew got a card with, "I don't know about you, but I am wearing no pants."

posted by jadepearl at 3:47 AM on February 15, 2012

Hippie Bathday was the norm with my friends in college.
posted by Elly Vortex at 4:18 AM on February 15, 2012

Once a year we celebrate,
With stupid hats and plastic plates,
The fact that you were able to make
Another trip around the sun.
And the whole clan gathers round,
And gifts and laughter do abound.
And we let out a joyful sound
And sing that stupid song.

Happy birthday!
Now you're one year older.
Happy birthday!
Your life still isn't over.
Happy birthday!
You did not accomplish much.
But you didn't die this year, I guess that's good enough.

So let's drink to your fading health,
And hope you don't remind yourself,
Your chance of finding fame and wealth,
Decrease with every year.
`Cause if you feel you're doing laps,
And eating food and taking naps,
And hoping that someday perhaps
Your life may hold some cheer.

Happy birthday!
What have you done that matters?
Happy birthday!
You're starting to get fatter.
Happy birthday!
It's downhill from now on.
Try not to remind yourself your best years are all gone.

If cryogenics were all free,
Then you could live like Walt Disney.
And live for all eternity,
inside a block of ice.
But instead your time is set.
This is the only life you get.
And though it hasn't ended yet,
Sometimes you wish it might.

Happy birthday!
You wish you had more money.
Happy birthday!
Your life's so sad it's funny.
Happy birthday!
How much more can you take?
But your friends are hungry, so just cut the stupid cake.
posted by essexjan at 4:21 AM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

I've always liked a simple "Long may you run," a la Neil Young.
posted by argonauta at 4:26 AM on February 15, 2012

Sing them the Birthday Dirge, of course. It helps if you have a deep baritone.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:13 AM on February 15, 2012

Like Specklet, I sometimes use "Many happy returns!".
posted by donajo at 5:19 AM on February 15, 2012

Congratulations on your increasing decrepitude!
posted by h00py at 5:20 AM on February 15, 2012

"Enjoy your Xth trip around the sun!"

Bonus: since X is birthday+1, it makes them feel that much older.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:01 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

I always like to say 'Many happy returns of the day', because it seems like a better thing to wish someone than just a happy birthday. 'Happy birthday' = may you be happy today. 'Many happy returns' = may you have a long life full of happy birthdays. It's like a hundred times the value of a usual birthday greeting.
posted by Acheman at 7:08 AM on February 15, 2012

I always say "Happy birthday" [insert name here]"! I hope your day is filled with "[insert three things that I know they like or random things like climbing trees or getting flowers].

Everyone always enjoys reading it, much more than just the normal "Happy birthday".
posted by source.decay at 7:50 AM on February 15, 2012

Happy Welcome to the World Screaming and Naked Day!
posted by ducktape at 2:28 PM on February 15, 2012

I try to put something different and unique on friends' (and acquaintances') walls on Facebook. Just random, weird things.

Today I put "Happy Birthday! I hope you get a surprise birthday visit from Weird Al or someone equally as cool!"

It's silly, but the recipient seemed to like it and even commented on it.
posted by tacodave at 3:41 PM on February 15, 2012

Happy Birthday in 6 languages, by Lance:)
posted by leigh1 at 5:47 PM on February 15, 2012

I had a ex tell me once (before he was an ex!), "I am so glad you were born!!" Pretty sure I've reused that on birthday cards when I'm in a sweet/sappy mood.
posted by jabes at 6:04 PM on February 15, 2012

My husband says, "Happy Day of Maturity!".
posted by Grlnxtdr at 11:05 PM on February 15, 2012

I've been saying, "Congratulations on another year of skillful death evasion!!"
posted by baconandvodka at 11:52 AM on February 16, 2012

Response by poster: thanks everyone. I appreciate all your suggestions.
posted by robverb at 6:03 AM on February 25, 2012

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