Gift Guides,  Life & Family

OPEN WHEN LETTERS: 161 *sensational* Topic Ideas & Examples

This post is all about making open when letters.

envelopes and flowers with text that says 160+ open when letter ideas

What are Open When Letters?

Open when letters are a series of letters that are gifted to someone.

Each letter has a title explaining when they should be opened.

The titles can be themed (for example: school themes for a child or friend going off to college) or can be based on a person’s role in your life (for example for your spouse or your parent).

Open when letters are a great gift to give when you want to be creative and when you want your gift to be very personal and meaningful.

How do you start?

First, do you have someone in mind that you will be writing for?
Good.

Now, you will need something to write with, something to write on and a bunch of envelopes.

The first letter you write needs to spell out the rules:

Open When Letter Rules

Your first letter should explain the concept of the “open when letters” and it should also make your expectations clear for the person receiving your letters.

This letter is often titled the “Open First” or “Open when you first receive this” letter.

an open first letter

Here are some common rules to include:

  • Only open the letter when it applies.
  • No peeking! It will spoil the fun (and all the hard work I put in).
  • Open one letter every _______ (week, month? set your own timeline).
  • Let me know when you have opened one.
  • Please don’t throw away or lose any of the letters.
    My hope is that you will want to save them and read them again and again in the future.
  • If you want your letters to stay private, include a rule telling your letter-getter to only open the letters when they are alone and to avoid sharing them with other people.

OPEN WHEN LETTER IDEAS & TOPICS

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Open When Letters are very popular for people in long distance relationships or military couples / families.
However, everyone can (and should) try them out!
You can write letters to someone special in your life just to make them feel special and loved (even if they don’t necessarily live far away from you).

I’ve included letter topics for all kinds of situations.
Make sure to look at all the categories (even if you don’t think they would apply) because a lot of the topics would work for multiple categories.

I’ve ALSO included tips here & there on special things you can include with your letters to make them extra personal.

At the very bottom, you’ll find inspiration for how to write a complete letter and how to style your open when letter envelopes!

KEEP SCROLLING FOR THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES

  1. Open when letter ideas for anyone
  2. Open when letter ideas for boyfriends / girlfriends / wives / husbands
  3. Open when letter ideas for best friends
  4. Open when letter ideas for the student in your life
  5. Open when letter ideas for your child
  6. Open when letter ideas for mom & dad
  7. Open when letter example
  8. Open when letter envelope styles & inspiration

Open When Letter Ideas For Anyone

Even though Open When Letters have been extremely popular in relationships, they can be given to ANYONE!!! So if you have someone in mind, here is a long list of letter Open When Letter topics for your inspiration.

OPEN WHEN …

  • you first receive this
  • you’ve done something you’re not proud of
  • you’ve had a great day
  • you need a new book / movie / show recommendation
  • you are doubting yourself
  • you are procrastinating
  • you need a laugh
    • (take it up a notch by: including a list of your favorite jokes or funny memories)
  • you are feeling insecure
  • you are excited about something
  • you need my support
  • you are bored
  • you are worried about the future
  • you need to remember how strong you are
  • you need to make a big decision
  • you feel insignificant
  • you feel undeserving
  • you are sick of social media
  • you are sad
  • you are feeling lazy
  • it is raining
  • you need prayer
  • you’ve bought something new that you really like
  • you feel like you can’t do anything right
  • everything is going right
  • you’re worried about money
    • put a few dollars in the envelope as monetary support. the amount doesn’t matter as much as the show of support.
  • you can’t sleep
  • you’ve gotten some bad news
  • you want to hear a poem
  • you’re at the airport
  • you’re halfway through your flight
  • you land at your destination
  • you are really angry
  • you feel taken advantage of
  • you need to rant
    • include a page of stationery and pen and encourage them to write the rant!
  • it’s the start of a New Year
    • include some confetti to celebrate!
  • it’s Christmas
    • include a small Christmas gift!
  • it’s Thanksgiving
  • you’re feeling emotionally drained
  • you feel overwhelmed
  • you need motivation
  • you are unwell / sick
    • include some throat lozenges and maybe a few satchets of tea
  • you need a vacation
  • the world doesn’t make sense
  • you feel unaccomplished
  • you are crying
    • include a small pack of tissues
  • you are in the mood for a good quote
  • you get a new job
  • it is Spring
  • it is Winter
  • it is Summer
  • it is Fall
  • you need attention
  • you need a break
  • you need inspiration
  • you are losing faith
  • you feel like your best days are already behind you
  • you’re just not feeling satisfied with your job
  • you think about hurting yourself
  • you’re in the mood for a really dumb joke
  • I am being stubborn
  • you turn ____ (specify age)
  • you need some cash
  • Open whenever
  • Open on _____ (specific date)

Open When Letters For Boyfriend / Girlfriend / Husband / Wife

These letters are extremely popular within relationships because they are romantic and exciting! There is something so sultry about opening a letter and reading your lovers words, especially when you can’t see them and spend time with them, like in a long distance relationship, a military family or even just two people with an extremely busy life.

OPEN WHEN …

  • you forget why I love you so much
  • you are angry with me
  • I am angry with you
  • it seems like our spark is gone
  • you miss me
  • it is our anniversary
  • you want to know my favorite memory of us
    • if you can, include a picture of the moment you end up writing about
  • we have an argument
  • you need a hug
    • include something small with your signature smell on it
  • you don’t feel appreciated
  • you are wondering how to make me smile
  • you need ideas for date night
  • you feel like giving up on us
  • our children are driving you crazy
  • you’re feeling nostalgic
  • it’s our child(ren)s birthday
  • you don’t feel respected
  • you’ve been gone for a week
  • you feel unattractive
  • you want to see pictures of us
    • include pictures of the both of you!
  • it is Valentine’s Day
  • it feels like we’re drifting apart
  • you feel a little jealous
  • I’ve done something stupid
  • you want to reminisce on the day we met
  • you feel a little frisky
  • you need a compliment
  • we get engaged
  • we get married
  • we have our first child
  • we move into our first home together

Open When Letters For Best Friends

Remember being in school and the joy of writing and receiving notes from your friends? You can recreate that no matter your age or distance, with these open when letter topics for friends (and even siblings).

OPEN WHEN …
  • we haven’t spoken in a while
  • you feel alone
  • you need my advice but can’t reach me
  • after we finish hanging out
  • I don’t pick up my phone
  • you’ve made a bad decision
  • you miss our friend group
  • you feel like no one cares
  • someone tries to bully you
  • you’re on your period
  • you want to reminisce on our friendship
  • you feel like a screw up
  • you find the love of your life
  • on your wedding day

Open When Letters For The Student In Your Life

Going off to school can be an exciting, but also scary, lonely and hard time. If you want to give the student in your life a meaningful gift that will support and encourage them through the highs and the lows, this is it.
Here are a list of topics that you can start with.

open when letters from etsy by mariaoggeridesigns
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OPEN WHEN …

  • you need to take your mind off of school
  • you are stressed out
  • you’ve accomplished something you’re proud of
  • you miss home
    • include something that reminds them of home
  • you feel like giving up on your goals
  • you need ideas for non-school hobbies
  • you are wondering if you made the right decision
  • you need a pep talk
  • you have taken a really hard test
  • you are tired of eating cafeteria food (or ramen)
    • if you can, include a gift card for their favorite restaurant or some cash for them to splurge on a quality meal
  • you are sick of studying
  • you are wondering if it will all be worth it
  • it is your first day of classes
  • you are halfway through the semester (or school year)
  • it is your last day of classes
  • it is your graduation day
  • you have your first interview

Open When Letters For Your Child

As a child, the supportive and loving words of your parents are priceless. A beautiful way to be present in your kids lives, even when you can’t be there physically, is to send them letters that they can open whenever they need your precious words and presence.

OPEN WHEN …

  • it’s your birthday
  • you are wondering whether you are doing the right thing
  • you feel like the world is so big and you are so small
  • you feel discouraged
  • someone lets you down
  • you feel excited
  • you forget how home feels like or smells like
    • include something that reminds them of home, even if it’s just a clipping of their favorite quilt
  • you’ve done something you feel embarrassed about
  • you feel abandoned
  • you’re nervous about something
  • it is Mother’s Day
  • it is Father’s Day
  • you want a funny memory about childhood
    • if you can, include a picture of the moment you write about
  • you’re angry at a family member
  • you have a nightmare
  • you are getting married

Open When Letters For Mom & Dad

Time and time again, I say that the best gift we can give our parents are meaningful gifts that
Creating open when letters for your mother and/or father is a way for children of ALL ages to share memories, encouragement and invaluable words with their parents.

 manila envelope with red flowers

OPEN WHEN …

  • you are hit with mom-guilt (or dad-guilt)
  • you are mad at me
  • you see your kid(s) growing up and you miss your little babies
  • you are sleepy but need to stay up
    • if you can, include a gift card for their favorite coffee shop or a bag of their favorite energizing tea
  • I make you proud
  • it is my birthday
  • it is your birthday
  • you wonder if you taught me everything that I need to know
  • it is Father’s Day or Mother’s Day
  • you feel old
  • you are looking for balance
  • you feel like the world is a scary place
  • you feel lonely
  • you have had a good day
  • you need something to read with your glass of wine
  • you need a walk down memory lane
  • you are worried about me
  • you don’t feel beautiful or handsome
  • you feel out of energy
  • you lose something or someone very precious to you
  • you are wondering if you did a good job

Open When Letter Example

Now that you’ve got your topics, you might be needing some inspiration to actually write your letters.

I’m going to share a letter that I would write to a friend for a “open when you’re feeling overwhelmed” letter.

“Hi best friend,

I’m sorry to hear that you feel overwhelmed. I hate that feeling!

First of all, if you need to scream, let it out!
Then, take a deep breath (or ten).
Now, read this quote:
When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
-by Harriet Beecher Stowe

You’ve got this!

You’ve always been a superstar.

Remember that time you had 2 tests to take, that formal to attend and a bunch of errands to run for the family? You were freaking out but you pulled through and on top of it, you looked AMAZING at the gala!

You pull through time and time again which is why I am 100% confident that you will get through this.
I hope you know that you’re on my mind and in my prayers.

Let me know what I can do to help.

As always,
Love you long time!
Your bestie!”

Open When Letter Envelope Styles & Inspiration

There are so many beautiful ways to style these letters.
If you are naturally artistic, you will have a great time decorating your open when letter envelopes with different themes, colors and details.

However, if you are more excited about writing the letters than you are about creating nice envelopes (or you simply don’t have the time), you can actually purchase your open when letter envelopes.

Here are THREE gorgeous Etsy listings for your convenience:


This post was all about “Open When Letters” and ideas on what to write in them and how to style them.
You’re all set to write your own beautiful set of letters and share them with your loved ones.
Happy writing!


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