So you’ve got a special card for a special occasion and person, but you can't think of a single special thing to say on it. Sound familiar? Most of the people you give cards to don’t know what to write in a card when faced with their own to address either — and that’s part of the reason why they will appreciate the gesture just that much more! Not many people know how to write a good card greeting, but everybody still loves getting one!
Writing greetings in cards is definitely a lost art, with most people ditching the gesture altogether and aiming for a printed card instead. Sometimes, though, this can lead to 20, 30, 40 or more minutes spent searching the card aisles of odd shops and oversized department stores for the perfect card that, in reality, only comes close to communicating how they feel. Because as lost as the art of writing itself may be, we can all still recognize the importance of the words! Luckily, whether it be a tip as simple (and enjoyable) as going to buy gift boxes for the exciting occasion before filling out your cards to keep the theme cohesive or something as significant as a guide to wording the perfect “I'm sorry” — we can help make it a little easier!
identify your main objective
The first thing that’s going to help you craft a good greeting card message is identifying what exactly you're trying to express. This is an easy-to-do step that’s going to drastically improve your ability to start writing and stay focused. When it comes to writing cards, you’ll normally be trying to say one of the following.
- thank: There’s a good chance that you’ve got someone in your life who will selflessly step up to the occasion when you need them because they think you deserve it — and we think that those people deserve a deep and heartfelt thank you. They know what they did for the situation, but do they know what exactly they did for you? Express how much their help was needed, what it did for you and how special they are to even offer the support in the first place. Even if you’re a silly soul and the two of you have a humor-driven relationship, try to be as sincere and authentic as possible as you say thank you so that there’s no question to anyone how grateful you really are.
- support: Support and sympathy cards can have an incredible effect on those facing hard times, so never hesitate at the thought! For most, the hesitation comes from not knowing what to say, or from worries of saying the wrong thing completely. Luckily, this type of card isn’t so much about saying the perfect thing as it is about offering support. After all, there ARE no perfect words for someone facing hardships, health difficulties or family loss — but there is a perfect level of support that shows them you are there if they need anything, but mindful of what they are going through and the space that they may need just as much as the support. If you want to take this a step further, you can always show your support through our curated gift boxes (which are especially great in this situation for those who are less articulate). From gifting them a box that will help them relax and smile to gifting them a box that will give them the energy to get through, there are no wrong answers!
- apologize: While we hope you get to skip right past this section, it’s inevitable that you’ll have to (or should) apologize for something at some point in life. And whether you’ve said the wrong thing, done the wrong thing, NOT done something that you should’ve or something in between, it’s probably not actually the first time and it probably won't be the last. Mistakes get made, but knowing how to make a good apology will help your relationship as much as it will help you understand the situation and be proactive in preventing yourself from repeating the same mistakes! No matter what the mistake was, there are a couple of steps to take, but you’ll want to start with two important words: I’m sorry. Once you say this and claim responsibility, it’s a good idea to open up a little and tell them exactly what you’re sorry for, as this will let them see that you understand and are on the same page as them. From here, you want to empathetically acknowledge their feelings and validate their opinions to restore trust and openness in your relationship. Finally, express that you’ve thought about moving forward by telling them how you’re going to prevent this same situation from happening in the future. The most important step? Stick to what you’ve said and promised!
- celebrate: If your goal is to get in on the celebration, then give them a good cheer, share your best wishes for the occasion, celebrate the recipient soulfully or express your excitement over the event! No matter what the specifics of the celebration, this is the perfect opportunity to show how much you care without having to write an excessive amount! It’s all about being positive and sharing in the excitement and energy!
- congratulate: Whether you’re looking to congratulate them on a new home, a new baby or an outstanding achievement, you’re probably feeling lucky and light and realizing just how amazing it feels and how fun it is to be a part of other people's happy times. A simple initiative like expressing that in a handwritten card that they can keep forever will let them see (and remember) this encouraging support system around them even more clearly and keep aiming up toward success because the people around them get excited when they do! So along with sharing in the excitement and pursuing all that's positive about the situation, don’t be afraid to throw your support into this sort of message as well!
figure out the feeling you want to put forward
Deciding what to write in a card will depend a lot on your main objective as noted above, and a lot on your recipient as well. For instance, you hopefully won't be sending the same holiday card message to your friend who’s always looking for a laugh as the one you send to your elder family member who keeps cards forever as sentimental keepsakes. As opposed to going for something excessively personalized, though, this can simply mean asking yourself what feeling you’d like to put forward.
- funny: When done right, poking a little fun at a friend is nothing but funny for everyone! Especially in tune with the fun energy of celebrations, funny observations or sentences of endearment are welcome and even encouraged here. Along with celebrations, a certain amount of humor can be incorporated into your congratulatory card as well. It is important to keep these jokes as light and positive as possible, though! When it comes to thank you, sorry, sympathy and support cards, though, stray away from the humor and honor them with some sincerity!
- sentimental/sincere: Sincere statements, insights and emotions are ALWAYS welcome when it comes to cards and are very hard to recreate and find in your favorite card aisles! In fact, adding these types of messages to your cards is often what makes them special enough to be saved and treasured even years after receiving them. And while it may be hard sometimes to share our raw feelings (especially in the form of writing), it is actually one of the easier types of messages to craft! You don’t have to be overly clever, excessively wordy, slightly censored or super excited — you just have to be… You!
- professional: Whether you’re wishing everyone in the workplace a wonderful holiday, thanking your coworker for covering for you, congratulating a customer or supporting your superior, finding the right words can be hard enough, but professional relationships can make card writing feel like some really serious business. Luckily, this isn't actually the case! With limited room under the cover of a card, messages are normally kept clear, concise and minimal already — which is all you're really looking to achieve here! Aside from this, just remember not to use your common card sign-off of “XOXO.”
- festive: Festive cards are all about celebration and call for a fun message! Keep it focused on the festivities at hand, and make sure to mention the togetherness that comes with it and not wanting to celebrate with anyone else during this special season or celebration! When it comes to Christmas in particular, never be afraid to write one of those long life-update letters! After all, nothing expresses your desire to be with them during the holidays more than trying to get them into your life in one way or another! And while many of us may second-guess these types of letters, just remind yourself of how enjoyable and interesting they are to read when you get one from someone else in the family who couldn’t be there for the festivities. In these sorts of scenarios, getting a surprise gift box sent to them will only serve to amplify the exciting, celebratory and supportive effect of this initiative, too!
find a theme for your message through your gift
The best gift box ideas are known to have a theme. Not only should this be incorporated into your card to really highlight the theme that you found perfect for them, but will help you figure out a direction for your message. This may be an insight, a comparison or even a simple pun, but chances are, it will help you significantly when it comes to scripting a message! Similarly, if you’ve gotten your giftee a single gift, showcase its standout qualities and why it’s perfect for them or for the occasion by incorporating the same qualities about them into your message.
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add a poem or quote
Anything you write to your recipient is going to be appreciated and adored. It’s a special handwritten message just for them, after all! With that in mind, though, sometimes someone has already said the perfect words… And there’s absolutely no shame in sharing these words (just be sure to give credit where it’s due). Poems, quotes and song lyrics can help you to express your thoughts, showcase how you feel, invoke a memory the two of you share or impart wisdom — and can make just as big of an impact on your recipient as they clearly have had on you. Along with the impact that the words themselves can have is the impact that you finding these perfect words and personally writing them out will have, which is going to be big!
always add your wishes and an extra greeting
Even if you’ve found a great card and decide to let it speak for itself, you should still say a little something! A great card will generally include at least a statement about the occasion or recipient (something like “It’s your birthday and you’re another year older!”) and will normally be followed by a sentence of endearment about the occasion or recipient (like “Being a part of your journey so far has been inspiring and exciting! Growing old is fun with a friend like you!”). And while you may have found the perfect card that showcases the exact feeling you’ve been trying to capture for this person or occasion thanks to its statements and sentiments, your personal wishes and greeting will really seal the deal. Special occasions involve special celebrations — and special hopes and wishes. So embrace those with your giftee and encourage them to keep holding onto their special hopes and wishes by sharing your own light and positive wishes for them. Look into the future in a positive light and provide support with simple but significant wishes like: “Here’s to hoping that your day is as sweet as your cake, and that we only get more awesome as we grow old together!”
From here, you’ll always want to end your message with the occasion and a recipient-specific greeting (“Happy Birthday to the best friend I could ever ask for!”) and sign off with your name or signature. And remember: Even though your signature is the easiest part of this message, it can also be one of the parts that stand out the most to your recipient — so don't forget to add it!
a card as special as its recipient…
Every greeting card is as different as its recipient and will rely on them, your relationship type and the occasion at hand when it comes to picking a design and crafting a message. With no status quo, why wouldn’t you make a creative design or customize the written details?
As gifting specialists, we understand the desire to do this and are dedicated to truly getting across how special your recipient is. So if you're struggling, if you’ve ordered a surprise gift box from us or if you just really want to ensure that this card is as special as possible — let us do what we do best! Here at Goodly, we’ve created the Just for You gift note and the Thinking of You gift note, and both of them integrate our gifting specialties and your great message. These cards have been mindfully designed by us, and will have your meaningful words inscribed in them beautifully by our creative hands. So go ahead and get creative because we’ll help you crush it!
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