Tips on what to say in a birthday video message

Recording a surprise birthday video message for someone you care about is a really special way of letting them know how much they mean to you. Not only will you be showing your love and appreciation, but by following these simple tips on what to say, you will be creating a treasured memory and something that they can look back on for years to come.

Here are some ideas if you’re not sure what to say.

The first thing to remember is to just be yourself and speak from the heart.  Your loved one will be so pleased to see your message, they won’t even notice that you’re feeling a little nervous or camera shy.

Make sure that you don’t waste the opportunity to tell them how much you care, by just saying, ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘sorry we can’t be with you’.  Imagine 30 people in a video message compilation all saying the same thing, it’s not going to be much fun to watch.

It’s a good idea to plan what you are going to say and have a couple of run throughs before you press record. Writing a complete script won’t come across as very natural, but writing a few notes or prompts to remind you will be very helpful.  Just imagine that the person you are recording the message for is standing right in front of you and that instead of looking into the camera lens, you are actually looking into their eyes.

  • Share a memory

Friends reminiscing in video message

I always suggest looking through your old photos for inspiration.  It won’t be long before you get some ideas, whether it’s something that happened recently or a while ago.  You could tell a story from school or university days or it could be a holiday you shared or an adventure you’ve experienced together. Perhaps you could even talk about their fashion sense when they were young or about a pop star they loved. The photos can then be added to your video message, which makes it look really special and it’s a great way for other people watching to share in that memory.

  • Tell a Funny Story or Anecdote

It’s lovely to take some time out to think about your loved ones and the memories you have together. I’m sure that most of us have a funny story or anecdote to recount.  If you can, try and get together with some other friends to record a group birthday video message. Do you remember the time we…….?  If you are unable to get together, you can always record a group zoom using the ‘gallery view‘ option.

  • Talk About Their Achievements

Celebrating graduation in video message

Why not talk about their achievements in life, whether it’s in education, sport, work, hobbies, charity or family life.  Tell them how proud you are of them and what an inspiration they have been to all their friends, family, colleagues and neighbours etc.

  • How Did You First Meet?


Love story for video message

I often use this question as a conversation starter and it’s great for a video message too.  Everyone is always interested in how people got together in the first place. It’s a little bit different if it’s for a member of your own family, but you can still talk about your first memory of how you met, whatever your age difference.  If you have a photo of your first meeting, it’s always lovely to include it in your video message.

  • Tell Them How Much They Mean to you

Mum hugging child

I know that it might seem obvious, but we rarely spend time telling our friends and family what they mean to us.  We take it for granted that they know.  Why not take a few moments and make a list of their qualities. Although, you might feel a little uncomfortable saying how you feel on video, there won’t be anyone who doesn’t appreciate hearing that they are loved and cared for. You have about a minute in your video message to describe how you feel about someone. Who doesn’t love a compliment?

  • Words of Wisdom

80th birthday video message

This is a lovely idea if they have reached a birthday milestone.  Think about what advice you wish you’d been given at that age. It doesn’t matter if they are turning 18 or 80, they will appreciate your words of wisdom, even if it’s tongue in cheek.

  • Put on a Performance!

Not everyone feels comfortable speaking straight to camera and if you prefer your message to be more light hearted, then some of the following suggestions might suit you.  If you decide to use Tik Tok, make sure you hold the camera in the landscape position.

  • Make them Laugh

Not everyone feels comfortable expressing their feelings, especially in a video message and if you have a good joke that they will appreciate, why not tell it?

  • Perform a Sketch

Get together with some friends or family and record a zoom sketch.  I recently received a video from two cousins who recorded their zoom conversation talking about the birthday girl.  They managed to include all the lovely things that they wanted to say but they did it in such a clever and funny way.

  • Change the Lyrics to their Favourite Song

Man playing guitar for video message

Why not take their favourite song and change the lyrics so that you are describing them.  I received a video message from a family in Switzerland recently, who did just that by changing the words to ‘Reach for the Sky’ by S Club 7, (one of their friend’s favourites).  They changed all the lyrics to describe him and included props in their dance routine.  It doesn’t matter if you’re not great singers, it will make it even more entertaining.

  • Write a Poem

It’s been fantastic to receive videos from so many creative people.  There’s nothing more uplifting than watching heartfelt poems, original songs, comedy verse and raps.

  • Carpool Karaoke

Another great idea is a carpool karaoke.  You could start your car journey by talking about your loved one. Then choose their favourite song to mime to. Or you can always add a personal message at the end of the song.  They are not only great fun to make but everyone will find them so entertaining to watch.

  • Don’t forget the outtakes

Outtake video message

I love including the bits that didn’t go quite as planned and sometimes the outtakes are the funniest part of the birthday video message. If you don’t mind sending the clips of the takes that went wrong, your friends and family will love to watch them.


Remember to speak from the heart, smile and have fun!



You may also like

Leave a comment