Etiquette for Signing Names on Cards

You should always personally sign greeting cards, including those sent to business associates.
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While e-cards are becoming more common, many people and businesses still prefer the personal touch of a mailed greeting card, especially during the holidays. You can get cards in a variety of personalized styles, even with signatures pre-printed on the cards, but etiquette experts warn that an actual signature is still mandatory, although one person may sign for a group.

1 Signatures Can Make It Personal

Lydia Ramsey, writing for ''We: Women’s Magazine,'' suggests that any relationship – business or personal – that deserves a greeting card also deserves the gesture of a personal signature. Pre-printed signatures are not enough to convey individual well-wishes; she recommends adding a brief greeting as well. With this added personal touch, even store-bought cards create a personal connection, “a little bit of you,” writes Maralee McKee, of Manners Mentor.

2 Signatures Can Speak for the Group

Who should sign the cards may be contentious. It need not be, according to Judith Martin, “Miss Manners.” Since formal etiquette has very few hard-and-fast rules about signing cards, consider the feelings of the recipient in deciding whether, for instance, a daughter-in-law would sign a Mother’s Day card alongside the son. For Christmas cards, a single person can sign for the entire family, McKee notes. She recommends putting the father’s name first when signing for a family; card publisher American Stationery agrees, adding that for a group card, such as in an office, the person who signs for the others puts his name last.

Jennifer Spirko has been writing professionally for more than 20 years, starting at "The Knoxville Journal." She has written for "MetroPulse," "Maryville-Alcoa Daily Times" and "Some" monthly. She has taught writing at North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee. Spirko holds a Master of Arts from the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-on-Avon, England.