Creative Ways to Say “Happy Birthday”


Ever feel like “happy birthday” is overused and cliché and just plain not creative? Feel lost when handed a birthday card to sign and don’t want to be the 30th person to write a bland “happy birthday”? Then the list below is for you. Cut and paste onto the walls of Facebook friends you hardly speak or even work up the courage to say some of the more off-color examples to their face. You might lose some friends, but at least you had the gall to go out in a blaze of awkwardness.

  • May the best of your past be the worst of your future.
  • Hope you have a lousy birthday.
  • Hope your day is miserable.
  • Jesus loves you more than anyone on this Earth ever will.
  • May all your up and downs be in bed, and may all your blues be Labatt’s!
  • As you slide down the bannister of life, may all the splinters point in the right direction.
  • Remember: Life is like a bowl of peppers, what you do today may burn your arse tomorrow.
  • Happy Birthday, John! Try and make the best of your last year alive!
  • 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.
  • Man, you’re old. Good for you. Love, Gucky.
  • May your toilet be filled with a resplendent plethora of giant eupeptic turds.

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…”

If you’re the first to sign a birthday card:

  • [A recipe for something you think he/she’d like. Long, involved recipes that fill up the entire card before anybody else can sign it are best.]

For people you 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…”

10 ways to say “happy birthday” to someone without using the word “birthday”

  1. “You look different today. Hmm, more mature in a way.”
  2. Approach the person silently. Shake his hand as if you would like to express your condolence, breathe heavily, and walk away.
  3. “Hey what is all that cake for? I thought you were on diet”
  4. “Cheer up buddy”
  5. “Do you also think of your own mortality sometimes?”
  6. On the stairways overtake the person by kicking and pulling. On the top of the stairs say, “You’re getting older, huh?”
  7. Try another language e.g. “suksan wan goeed” (Thai).
  8. “I just read this amazing article about Mozart. He wrote his first compositions at age 5. By the way, what are you working on at the moment?”
  9. Approach the person, look irritated, then say “Ah, you must be the younger sister of …”
  10. Recite a poem. Something like “time is a blossoming flower, it fades with the seasons…”

For more creative ways to say “happy birthday,” see the follow up post.