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What makes a good birthday message? For one thing, it should honor the anniversary of that important day when a special person was born. Second, it should be appropriate to the life stage of the birthday boy or girl.

  • For a child's birthday, celebrate how far the little girl or guy has come.
  • For a teenager's birthday, go for a message that emphasizes his or her interests. Avoid teasing messages – unless you want to embarrass the birthday teen.
  • As the person approaches middle age, birthday messages are often funny, edgy, or even humorously morbid. This continues into early old age.
  • For the elderly, birthday messages should convey respect for everything the person of honor has seen and experienced.

Having said all that, if you know the birthday person well, that familiarity trumps any general advice you might receive here or elsewhere. Tailor your message based on what you know.

Stumped on what to say to commemorate someone's big day? Check out the following articles for tons of birthday wording ideas for all ages.