Oof! It’s that time of year again: your anniversary. Your husband is always game to celebrate, but deciding dinner on an average night can be like pulling teeth, let alone planning a nice anniversary celebration together.
While one or both of you will have done plenty of planning in advance to make sure you’ve got a nice celebration planned, nothing sets the anniversary tone for the day like the right greeting card—yes, really. Even the most basic greeting card can be like a road map for getting your anniversary celebration going.
And for those of you saying that a great greeting card also needs a great gift, check out our anniversary gift buying guides for some amazing suggestions for your hubby!
It never hurts to go the extra mile to make someone happy, and a card is an easy way to add something extra to an already-special day. If you’ve never gotten a card for him before, it may feel a little strange to add something new to the mix.
And truthfully, if you’ve gotten him a card and he hasn’t gotten you one, it could get a little bit awkward. But if the shoe is on the other foot and he’s gotten you a card but you’re empty-handed, that’s trouble, too.
What Kind of Card Should I Get?
There’s nothing more frustrating than asking a direct question and getting “it depends” as your answer (it may even be like asking a question to your husband!)…but it really does depend. What is your husband like? Does he have a romantic streak, or is he a constant joker? Is he a straight shooter or is he a little more guarded with his feelings?
Chances are that if you’re celebrating an anniversary, you’ve gotten to know your husband pretty well by now. You probably have a hunch what he’d respond to best. If he’s got a short attention span, one of those accordion folded cards with pages of poetry is not for him.
He may even be the type that likes a sincere message but doesn’t like the commercialization that goes along with the typical holiday and greeting card push. If that’s the case, there are plenty of paper artists and craftspeople both locally and online who make their own cards. Some have prewritten messages, and others are just designed well, but blank inside, giving you the chance to write a fully custom message.
Again, be confident and trust your judgement. Don’t bend over backwards to take your own voice out of your message, but if he’s not a sappy guy, try to write something that flows naturally but uses vocabulary he understands—in other words, straightforward and not too flowery.
This is for your benefit too: if you spend hours trying to find just the right words, but he’s the type of guy who will scan a card in 30 seconds, nod, and then move on to the next activity, it might not be worth the effort.
Make the event a pleasant one for both of you and don’t make any of your anniversary celebration feel like work. That’s a good rule of thumb for any special occasion: put the work in to make things go smoothly, but a good celebration should never feel like work.
What usually goes over well is a brief message about how happy you are to have made it as many years as you have. If you’ve got kids or run a business together, it’s not a bad idea to talk about what a great partner they are in those other areas of life, too.
Just make sure not to spend too much time on either topic. If they start to think too much about work or your kid flunking their math test last week, it may take some romance out of the day.
Jokes get tricky. Even on the happiest of days, a joke that doesn’t land can seem more like a passive-aggressive jab than an attempt at sharing a laugh. That doesn’t mean you need to be deadly serious, but it does mean you should choose your words carefully.
Just like a text message, it can be hard to discern tone in what you write in a greeting card. If you think you’ll have to follow up with “just kidding,” maybe skip that line altogether.
Write It Out in Advance
Take some of the pressure off by gathering your thoughts in advance. Grab a pen and paper and start by taking notes. Again, If he’s not much of a reader, there’s no harm in keeping it brief. But writing directly on the card without planning could lead to crossed out words or rambling, so plan ahead. Not just notes, but full sentences. You’ll thank yourself later.
What points do you want to cover? How romantic do you want to be? Do you expect him to keep the card as a memento or shove it in the back of a drawer?
At the very least, writing things out in advance will let you decide what’s most important for you to tell him. You might surprise yourself with what you discover about your feelings just by taking a few minutes to reflect. That’s exactly what anniversaries are for: spending a day each year for you and your husband to reflect on your feelings for each other and give yourselves more opportunities for your memories and love for each other to grow.
Leave Some Talk For Later
The card is just one part of your anniversary celebration. It’s completely fine—in fact, best—if you don’t get every single romantic thought jammed into one card. If you’ve a big celebration planned, or even just a quiet dinner in, you’ll have plenty of time to tell him how much you love him.
The phrase “it’s the thought that counts” really is true, as long as you stick to what you know. Don’t get bogged down in the details. A card is a nice gesture and it’s definitely a welcome touch to any anniversary celebration, but the precise words you use aren’t nearly as important as the thought he’ll know you’ve put behind them.