13 Pretty Birthday Cards to Send on Their Special Day

woman signing birthday card
Monkey Business Images / Getty Images

Any birthday is worth celebrating. Deciding on the party theme, decorations, and activities makes the days leading up to the party seem like part of the celebration itself. But today, because we're still living in the time of social distancing, handwritten letters and gift-giving by mail are all the more important. For someone's birthday, why not send a card? It's a gracious gesture to family and friends who you can't celebrate with. Plus, who doesn't love to receive a pretty envelope in their mailbox? When it comes to writing a birthday card, the number one thing to keep in mind is to keep it personalized and not general. As for timing, etiquette calls for sending the card within a few days of the recipient's birthday and, ideally, paired with a nicely wrapped gift package.

These one-of-a-kind cards will be sure to surprise and delight your loved one on their special day. Whether you hope to find just the right birthday card for her, him, the kids, and everyone in between, any of our picks are perfect to wish them a "Happy Birthday!" Many of these cards are illustrated with motifs like ice cream, party hats, floating balloons, and triple-tiered birthday cake. It's like a party just opening the envelope! Shopping for a card is also a thoughtful way to support independent artists. Think: Designers like E. Frances Paper, Meri Meri, and Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co.

Ahead, shop our picks for the best modern birthday cards—any one of them will be happily received.

01 of 13

Flora and Fauna

floral happy birthday card
Courtesy of Rifle Paper Co.

In Anna Bond's signature design, this birthday card is calligraphed in elegant gold.

Shop Now: Rifle Paper Co. Rosé Birthday Card, $5, riflepaperco.com.

02 of 13

Thing of Beauty

floral happy birthday card
Courtesy of Mr. Boddington

From their studios in New York City, this hand-illustrated card courtesy of Mr. Boddington speaks to "the Martha" in her.

Shop Now: Mr. Boddington "The Florist Called" Birthday Card, $5.25, mrboddington.com.

03 of 13

Balloon Wishes

write-in birthday card
Courtesy of Target

Write in your own message for their birthday with this clever scratch-off design on the illustrated balloon.

Shop Now: Inklings Paperie "Your Writing Here" Balloon Scratch-Off Card, $18 for six, target.com.

04 of 13

Bottle of Bubbly

champagne happy birthday card
Courtesy of The Blossom Tree GB / Etsy

Pop a bottle to celebrate with this champagne-inspired card. For a personalized touch, you can ask the artist to write their name.

Shop Now: The Blosson Tree GB Personalized Champagne Flutes Card, from $4.62, etsy.com.

05 of 13

Dreamy Desserts

dessert cutout birthday card
Courtesy of Meri Meri

Cake for all! This card pops up to an array of dreamy desserts—gelatin molds, dollops of ice cream, and triple-tiered cake.

Shop Now: Meri Meri "Cake Concertina" Card, $6.95, merimeri.com.

06 of 13

Orchid Elegance

blooming orchid birthday card
Courtesy of Hallmark

If she loves an orchid (though, not so much the delicate maintenance of one) send this card which opens up to a message that "you grow more beautiful."

Shop Now: Hallmark Blooming Orchid Birthday Card, $6.99, amazon.com.

07 of 13

Birthday Balloon

Minted Birthday Balloon for Her Greeting Card
Courtesy of Minted

Send her a little cheer with this pretty pink balloon-themed card. And thanks to Minted's greeting card subscription service, you can order all of your cards at the start of the year, assigning each one to a specific family member or friend, and the company will remind you when it's time to send it.

Shop Now: Angela Thomas for Minted "Birthday Balloon" Card, from $6.98, minted.com.

08 of 13

Party Hats

birthday hat card
Courtesy of Hallmark

Get the party started! This card of coned hats are each topped with tinsel gold.

Shop Now: Hallmark Signature Party Hat Birthday Greeting Card, $5.97, walmart.com.

09 of 13

Cute Messenger

penguin balloon birthday card
Courtesy of Paper Source

Celebrate anyone's birthday with this adorable card. It's a hand-drawn penguin holding a wrapped fish and balloon.

Shop Now: Dear Hancock Penguin Birthday Card, $5.95, papersource.com.

10 of 13

Flowers for You

girl overalls birthday card
Courtesy of Leif Shop

Here's an idea that'll speak to the gardener in her: This card is paired with a plantable envelope that sprouts wildflowers when placed in soil, celebrating the birthday of someone special.

Shop Now: Leif Shop "Bunch of Birthday Love" Card, $7, leifshop.com.

11 of 13

Sweet Correspondence

cotton candy birthday card
Courtesy of E. Frances Paper

Each E. Frances card starts as an original watercolor painting, then is printed in brilliant color on heavyweight paper and finally stamped with gold foil.

Shop Now: E. Frances Paper "Happy Birthday, Sugar" Card, $5, efrancespaper.com.

12 of 13

Calligraphy Courtesy

traditional happy birthday card
Courtesy of Bonjour Fete

This card is letterpress-printed by hand on antique machinery. Sailor blue ink on white paper is paired with a pale pink envelope and gold foil dot liner.

Shop Now: Bonjour Fete Traditional Happy Birthday Card, $6.95, bonjourfete.com.

13 of 13

Burst of Confetti

hot pink happy birthday card
Courtesy of Oh Happy Day

What could bring more cheer than a card with these colors? Give it a shake and the tissue paper showers in its frame.

Shop Now: Oh Happy Day! Confetti Birthday Card, $7.50, shop.ohhappyday.com.

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