How to Keep Humor in Your Greeting Cards

Category: General Tips

Laughter truly is the best medicine. The World Economic Forum calls a sense of humor an essential life skill. It improves a person’s mental health and makes it easier to find partners and friends.

There are many ways that you can show your sense of humor. Writing funny greeting cards is a simple yet effective way to do so. But don’t pick up your pen just yet.

How should you write a card and a joke? What makes a funny card not so funny? What should you do for a special occasion like a wedding?

Answer these questions and you can keep your friends laughing for years to come. Here is your authoritative guide to humor in greeting cards.

How to Write a Greeting Card

A greeting card is a short and sweet message. It is not a letter, in which you can write to someone in detail. You are reaching out to someone so you can wish them well and initiate a longer conversation.

You need to find the right card. Funny greeting cards are available in a number of stores. Most of them contain humorous visuals on the front and inside. If you are stuck, you can buy one and write your name on it. However, this can seem impersonal. You can get inspiration from them, but try to come up with an all-original card.

If an image does not work for you, you can select a blank card. You can also find a card with a generic image like flowers. This can serve as a good bit of misdirection as the recipient opens the card.

Start with a direct salutation. “Hi” is usually enough. Then write your message. For funny cards, you may need only one or two sentences. If you are writing for a particular occasion, you should wish them well for it. “Congratulations” or “Happy Birthday” is all you need. Make sure to sign off on the card. If you’re looking to further the conversation, leave your phone number or email address.

Know Your Recipient

Everyone has a different sense of humor. What you find funny may not be what your recipient finds funny.

Have a conversation with your recipient. Is it a close friend, or is it an employee’s birthday? Talk about your favorite comedies and sitcoms. Tell a few jokes and see what they laugh at.

Humor in greeting cards can be raunchy. Consider cards that are a little more grounded and sentimental. If you don’t have a good sense of what your recipient will like, you shouldn’t send them a funny card. You can risk confusing or alienating them with a joke.

Even if the recipient has a very good sense of humor, you should not send them a darkly humorous card for a tragic occasion. It is better to tell that joke in person so you can decide if it is appropriate.

Come up With a Joke

You can write a one-liner, a self-deprecating joke, or a topical remark. Start by reading the jokes that you and your recipient like. As ideas come to you, jot them down on a piece of paper.

Get the timing of the joke down. Most works of humor require a pause for them to land. Putting the first part on the cover and writing the rest on the inside makes a natural pause.

Keep things surprising. The punchline should clash with the setup in some way that the recipient finds rewarding.

You can make the recipient or yourself the butt of the joke, but try not to be too mean. You want them to laugh, not to feel sorry for themselves or you.

Consider drawing on personal events. Referring to an inside joke or a humorous memory between the two is always a great idea.

Shorter jokes work better on cards than longer ones, but you can still tell a humorous story. You just need to write on all surfaces of the card, including the back.

Draft what you’ve written a few times over. Read it aloud to see if it flows naturally.

Avoid Cliches

Many jokes have fallen out of popular favor. Offensive jokes are never appropriate in a greeting card. Whenever possible, try to punch upward rather than punch downward.

Puns can be very polarizing. Some people really love them, while others think that they are cheesy. When in doubt, try to avoid pun humor in greeting cards.

Other jokes like “the deal with airline food” have been repeated many times over. Don’t write one down unless you come up with a spin on the cliches.

In general, try to avoid telling a joke or story that you think the recipient has heard before. Your card will not have a good impact if the recipient thinks you are being lazy.

Commemorate a Special Occasion

Many occasions lend themselves to funny cards. You want to rise to the moment, but you don’t want to do what everyone else is doing. Consider a few approaches.

Birth of a New Child

Many people send cards to commemorate childbirth. Their cards often remark on the less glamorous components of raising a child. This includes changing dirty diapers or paying for college.

You can be a little more polite. You can find a card with an image of an oven on it. Inside the card, you can write, “Your bun is done!” Include a photograph of a child rolled up in a blanket. Write, “Your wrap-making skills are going to be useful.”

You can also send a card as though you are announcing a pregnancy. For Halloween, you can put the words, “I’m pregnant.” On the inside, you can jot down, “Not really, but ‘boo’ just isn’t scary.”


As you might imagine, many birthday cards crack jokes about how someone is getting old. Your card can say, “Everyone has the chance to be young. Your chance just ran out.” These jokes can be a little stark, especially for older people.

You can make a joke about how your card doesn’t have any money in it. Write, “What do you call a birthday card from a dear friend that doesn’t have money inside of it? This one.”

You can also play on the recipient’s expectations for a joke at their expense. You can write, “You stink! At looking like an old person.”

Make sure to follow the fundamentals of what to write in a birthday card. Leave a little wish at the bottom of your card to wrap things up nicely.


Graduation gives you a couple of opportunities for humor in greeting cards. You can make a joke about college life.

If you know the recipient liked to drink, you can include an image with a bunch of red cups. You can then write, “Not everything you learn in college will transfer to the real world.”

You can write something about what they will do after college. Many graduates loathe being asked what they will do. Write, “I’m not going to ask you about what you will do after you graduate. I was going to say, ‘How have you grown up so soon?'” You can also make jokes about the real world. “You are so accomplished, you are so kind, and you are so in debt” is one example.


Most holidays lend themselves toward funny cards. Many people pull pranks on Halloween, so you can send a humorous card on October 31.

If your recipient likes horror movies, put an image of an ominous mansion on the front with the words, “Don’t open it!” On the inside, you can write, “Congratulations! You passed the ‘dumb enough to be a horror movie’ test.”

Valentine’s Day is another occasion where you can subvert expectations. If you want to tell a raunchy joke, you can send a card to your partner. You can also make fun of how sappy Valentine’s Day can be.


Try to keep your wedding card light. Writing, “Ermahgerd!” on the front can be enough to leave an impression.

If you like to drink, place an image of two wine glasses on the front. Over one glass, put the words, “Getting married.” On the other, you can write, “Getting drunk.”

Send Out the Best Greeting Cards

Humor in greeting cards make wonderful gifts. Keep your card short. You don’t have enough space to go into detail, so try to be light and open the door for a conversation.

Create a card that your recipient will enjoy. Come up with your own joke whenever possible. Avoid cliches and offensive material.

If you are writing for a special occasion, focus on that. Birthdays and graduations give you a chance to be a little deprecating, but never be too mean.

You should always handwrite your greeting cards. Handwrytten can create dozens of cards in your handwriting. Sign up today!

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