You've been dating for a while and your girlfriend's birthday is coming up. You've found the perfect gift, but you're stumped on what to write on her card. Birthday cards offer a chance to express things you might feel shy to say in person, to share memories and hopes for the future and to make your girlfriend feel appreciated.

First Words

The words you use to start off your message set the tone for the rest of the note. Although the simplest way to address the card is to use your girlfriend's name, think about any pet names or terms of endearment that could make it more personal, suggests Therese Bouchard in the Psych Central article "8 Tips for Writing a Love Letter to Your Spouse." For example, you might start off with "Sweetie" or "Honey" rather than using her name.

Special Qualities

This is your chance to tell your girlfriend about the special qualities that draw you to her. For example, you might write something like, "Hope your birthday is as sweet, fun and amazing as you are!" Or you could go with something like, "Thanks for being someone I can talk to and share life with. Happy birthday."

Memories and Plans

Birthdays are a time to think back on the past year and look forward to what is yet to come. They are also a time to celebrate. Incorporate some of these ideas into your birthday message by writing "Can’t wait to celebrate with you tonight," or "I hope that today is the beginning of another wonderful year for you." Choose a card with a picture that has meaning for the two of you, such as a beach scene, and write a message such as "Looking forward to another amazing summer on the beach with you."

Signing Off

Just as you want your message to be special, you want the way you sign the card to be unique -- and to show your feelings for your girlfriend. You could stick with something traditional such as "Lots of love" or "All my love," or you could try getting more creative and descriptive. For example, you might borrow from the Hallmark writer who adopted her mother's tradition of signing cards with the phrase "Oceans of love" to paint a picture of how much you care for her.