Rather than generic well-wishes followed by a scrawled signature, how good does it feel when you receive a card someone went out of their way to write? Over time, card writing has become something of a lost art—but you don’t have to be a talented writer to strike a chord with your reader. For cards your loved one will treasure rather than toss, here are our tips to make your card writing meaningful and memorable.
Write a draft
Not sure what to say? Prone to spelling and grammar mistakes? Try mocking up a draft on a separate piece of paper beforehand. Read it out loud to yourself to spotlight run-on sentences, repetition, or anything that could be made stronger with a word change. This also helps map out your message length so you don’t write yourself into a corner. Literally.
Make them feel seen
It may sound morbid, but use every card as an opportunity to eulogize the person you love. Tell them how much they mean to you. Show them how they’ve changed the course of your life. Reflect on how much better the world is thanks to their existence. Make them feel like they matter, and your card will be one they’ll never forget.
Use a quote
When you can’t find the words to say, use someone else’s. But do your research, and make it meaningful. Writing for a friend? Search for a quote from a comedian you both love. For the longtime lover, incorporate a quote from the first movie you saw together. Trying to make mom or dad nostalgic? Look up a book you remember reading together as a child (or better yet, quote something they themselves have said that has always stuck with you).
Recall a treasured memory with that person
To avoid falling into card clichés and make your writing more personal, share your favourite memory of your loved one. Whether it’s from a major life event or an everyday inside joke, be as specific as possible and don’t forget to mention what you love most about the memory: Was it how comfortable it made you feel to see their face in the crowd as you walked down the aisle? That time they knew just what to say after a terrible day?
Keep it brief
This is a card, not an essay! Remember to keep it concise. Writing a draft can be a helpful way to cut out unnecessary jargon before you start writing the final card.
Make it about the recipient
This goes without saying, but the card should be about your loved one, not about yourself. It’s fine to weave your own narrative into the card if it makes sense, but this is an opportunity to make them feel special, not to unload your baggage.
Remember, there is no wrong time to give a card
You don't need an occasion to tell someone how you feel. Occasions like birthdays and weddings, when everyone else is giving a card, aren’t always your best opportunity to strike a chord—it’s the thoughtful cards that come unexpected that are the most special.
Reimagine store-bought cards
If you’re using a store-bought card with writing already inside, make them a bit more thoughtful by crossing out words, or adding your own notes to the phrases already printed inside. If you’re in a pinch, you can always cover up generic words with a photo of the two of you (see next step for ideas!).
Include a fun photo that reminds you of the person
If you're looking to for a sentimental touch, include your favourite photo with that person, either by pasting it inside or simply placing it in the envelope. This can also provide you with more material on what to write about, as you can reference the photo and why it's meaningful to you.
Proofread (and use an erasable pen!)
Sure, this isn’t a thesis paper–but errors still show a lack of care and attention to detail. When you’re putting this much effort into your message, the last thing you want is to distract the reader with a rogue typo, so proofread before sealing your envelope. An erasable pen is any great card writer’s secret weapon—and a great way to keep your card smudge- and liquid paper-free.
Finish off the same way you started—with a sentiment! Save the “sincerely” for your email signoff and get personal with a salutation tailored to your reader. You can reference how long you’ve known each other, quote a mutual favourite TV show, or simply toast to what’s to come.
Remember: gifts are lovely, but cards can often be just as (or even more!) memorable when done right. Give yourself permission to let your guard down and be a little vulnerable—your giftee will appreciate it, we promise.
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