Proper Etiquette for Signing a Greeting Card

Updated April 17, 2017

Greeting cards convey feelings of empathy, cheer or greetings throughout holidays, celebration, loss, and illness. According to the Greeting Card Association, each American receives more than 20 greeting cards per year. Greeting card etiquette is important to follow so that users can sign cards in a proper and former way. This helps to stay organised and focused when filling out multiple cards and allows names to synchronise better for easier reading.

Greeting or Message

Use a pencil or pen to sign the greeting card in your preferred style of handwriting. Add a short greeting above the names to show personalisation. If sending a holiday card, be sure to use caution depending on the beliefs of the recipients. Saying "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hanukkah" is appropriate for recipients you may not know well. Keep the messages or greeting short. Express sentiments on sympathy or "get well" cards. "Feel better soon" or "Get well soon" is short but sympathetic and gets directly to the point.

Single Signature

Individuals signing greeting cards should add the short message and sign their names directly beneath it. Use your first and last name, "Janice Smith" or "Todd Smith," as both are appropriate. In formal situations, the female may use "Ms. Smith," "Mrs. Smith" or "Miss Monroe" whenever applicable. The male may simply use "Mr. Smith" in place of his full name. You may choose to write in a slightly larger font to eliminate white space.

Couples' Signatures

Sign a greeting card from you and your husband or wife by placing the wife's name first, then the husband's name accompanying the shared last name, "Janice and Todd Smith." If unmarried or the wife maintains her maiden name, place the woman's name first and then the man's name such as "Janice Monroe and Todd Smith." Use "Mrs. and Mr. Smith" in formal settings, or "Mrs. Janice Monroe and Mr. Todd Smith" or simply "Mrs. Monroe and Mr. Smith."

Family Signatures

Sign a greeting card from the whole family by listing the husband's name, the wife's name and then the children's names, "Todd, Janice, Sylvia, Ryan and Michael." Place the children's names in order from the oldest to the youngest. Place "and family" any time the list may not fit within the card or if in a hurry: "Todd, Janice and family." It is also acceptable to list the wife's name before the husband's and then the children's first name and the family last name, "Janice, Todd, Sylvia, Ryan and Michael Smith." Use "The Smith Family" to save time or if space is limited. For unmarried partners, list the female's full name first, followed by the husband's full name, and add "and family" to finish, "Janice Monroe, Todd Smith and family." Add "Mr.," "Mrs.," "Ms." or "Miss" wherever appropriate for formal signatures. Adding formality to a long list may seem overbearing, so use it sparingly. "Mrs. and Mr. Smith and family" is appropriate for shortening names and titles.

Extended Family or Friends

Friends and family should sign cards using the same rules as an unmarried couple. Use "Janet Monroe and Tom Jackson" or "Mrs. Monroe and Mr. Jackson" when formatting the signatures. Additionally, you may place the second name beneath the first name to remove indication of relation. Use "Ms.," "Mrs.," "Miss" or "Mr." whenever you need to use a proper salutation. If mixed genders are signing the card, allow the females to sign first, followed by the males. You may also go from youngest to oldest instead, if desired.

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About the Author

Sherry Morgan has been professionally demonstrating her writing ability since 2005. Within her writing career, she has written for, Associated Content, Textbroker, and an extensive list of personal clients. She is currently working on her Associate of Applied Science degree in business management at MGCCC, focusing on business and creative writing.