If you're facing writer's block, let these creative ideas inspire you. 

By Elizabeth Passarella
Erin Lester/Getty Images

What can you possibly say to the guy who raised you (and helped out with your first down payment), the grandfather who came to every mock trial competition, the father of your children? Sometimes a store-bought card just won’t cut it. Sometimes you need a little more heart, a little more humor, and a little less cheese. So we came up with a long list of options: hilarious phrases for everyone from your husband (“Thank you for putting our kids to bed while I lock myself in the bathroom to regain my sanity”) to your father-in-law (“You’ve given us so much over the years. I’d appreciate a few more stories about my husband as a teenager that I can use as blackmail”). Steal our words! Make them your own! Text them if you forget to put something in the mail on time! And a Happy Father’s Day to all. Love, Real Simple.

Father

  • Mom reminded me to send this, but I love you just the same. Happy Father’s Day!
  • Mom didn’t even have to remind me to send this. Happy Father’s Day!
  • Am I your favorite child? Check one: [square] Yes or [square] Yes. Happy Father’s Day!
  • I love you even when you don’t respond to my Snapchats. Happy Father’s Day.
  • I love you so much, I’ll show you how to find the dang emojis. Again.
  • I bought the stamp myself! I think that means your job is done. Happy Father’s Day!
  • Thanks for bragging about me to the grocery store clerk—even when all I did was put an IKEA dresser together.
  • Thanks for teaching me how to choose a wine without crying in the store. You’re the best.
  • Thanks for instilling a deep appreciation of Law & Order. You’re the best.
  • Thanks for braiding my hair when Mom was out of town. You’re the best.
  • You always took my side during sibling fights, and that’s why I love you. (You did always take my side, right? I feel like you did. Anyway, Happy Father’s Day.)
  • I love you because you’re patient, funny, smart, and—best of all—forgiving (p.s. I am the one who dented the car in the summer of 2010). Happy Father’s Day.

Grandfather

  • I blame all of Mom’s annoying traits on Grandma, don’t worry. Happy Father’s Day!
  • You tell the most entertaining stories in the family. (I like the ones about Mom/Dad as a teenager the best.) I love you. Happy Father’s Day.
  • I know you’ve gotten a lot of Father’s Day cards over the years, but this one is extra special—because it’s from your favorite grandchild!
  • You were the only one brave enough to tell me that my last boyfriend was bad news. Thanks, Grandpa. Happy Father’s Day.
  • I love you more than you love the [insert favorite team here]. Happy Father’s Day.
  • Thanks for always giving me extra ice cream. You’re the best.
  • Thanks for pretending to be excited about everything I do, even though I’m your 9th grandkid. I love you.

Husband/Partner

  • I love you more than our kids love ketchup. Happy Father’s Day.
  • Thank you for putting our kids to bed while I lock myself in the bathroom to regain my sanity. I love you. Happy Father’s Day.
  • Sorry I couldn’t get you tickets to the Masters. But the kids picked out a shovel and a box of saltines. Samesies? Happy Father’s Day!
  • You make me laugh until I pee in my pants. (Although, to be fair, I also do that when I sneeze because... kids.) Happy Father’s Day!
  • Happy Father’s Day. You have until 2 p.m., and then I’m releasing the children on you.
  • Happy Father’s Day! Is two hours long enough to play 18 holes? Because I’m dying over here. Ok, thanks. Love you.
  • Happy Father’s Day. FYI this is also your birthday and Valentine’s card. Mama’s tired.
  • Thank you for raising our kids to be kind, hard-working, and capable of making their own pancakes by age 8.
  • Thank you for raising our kids to be kind, fun-loving, and able to see a good parking spot from 500 yards away.

Son

  • I love you so much, I won’t ask you to pay me back for the 12,426 pounds of hamburger meat you ate as a teenager. Happy Father’s Day, son.
  • I’m sending this card two weeks early, so you can re-use it and send it to Dad. You’re welcome. Love, Mom
  • The grandchildren still can’t read, right? In that case: You are the greatest gift of my life. Happy Father’s Day.
  • No, you’ll never sleep through the night again. Happy Father’s Day!
  • Yes, they usually do live with you until they’re 18. Happy Father’s Day!
  • One of these days, I’m going to tell your children about the time you put a caterpillar in my Diet Coke can when I wasn’t looking. Just in case it sparks any ideas. Happy Father’s Day!
  • You learned to wipe yourself, and they will, too. Keep up the good work, son. Happy Father’s Day.
  • I went to 60,000 soccer games, swim meets, and school recitals. And I’m still rooting for you. Happy Father’s Day, son.

Father-in-law

  • Thank you for raising such a wonderful son. I love him almost as much as the Amazon Echo you gave us for Christmas. Happy Father’s Day!
  • You’ve given us so much over the years. I’d appreciate a few more stories about my husband as a teenager that I can use as blackmail. Other than that, Happy Father’s Day!
  • Thank you for supporting us, loving us, and explaining to us how adjustable-rate mortgages work. Happy Father’s Day!
  • Happy Father’s Day to the amazing man who raised my amazing husband. Now, would you like to raise your grandkids?
  • Thank you for loving me as if I were your own daughter. (And you’re welcome for not having to deal with me as a teenager.) Happy Father’s Day.
  • We’ve taught the kids to call you His Royal Highness Grandfather Awesome. I assume that’s OK with you. Happy Father’s Day!
  • You are a great guy—and you raised one, too. Thanks for that. Happy Father’s Day.

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