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Open When Letters: Letter Ideas, What To Include & Rules

Sometimes the best gifts are those that are handmade and open when letters are one of the most sentimental DIY gift ideas you can make! The best thing is, you can make open when letters to suit almost every person and occasion! But they are especially great for someone you won’t be seeing for a while… like a college student, a partner who is deployed or long distance family member.

What Are Open When Letters?

Open when letters diy gift with 3 envelopes and a parcel.

Open when letters are a series of letters that are pre-written for different moments or occasions. They are gifted all at once, but the recipient can only open one when the moment is right, for example, “open when it’s your birthday”, or “open when you’ve had a bad day”.

The contents of the letters are up to you, as are the moments when they can open them. They can be a simple letter or they can include little extras and gifts to go with the moment.

Open When Letter Rules

You don’t just want to hand someone a pile of letters without explanation. That’s where these rules for open when letters come in:

  • RULE 1 – NO PEEKING: As tempting as it is, don’t spoil the surprise! No peeking ahead.
  • RULE 2 – ONLY OPEN WHEN IT APPLIES: Open the letters only when they apply, otherwise, you might open one before you truly need it.
  • RULE 2 – ONLY OPEN 2 LETTERS PER WEEK: To make sure your surprises last a while, do not open more than 2 letters in a single week.
  • RULE 3 – TELL ME WHEN YOU OPEN ONE: I want to hear from you each time you open a letter. Message, call or send a photo.
  • RULE 4 – KEEP THEM ALL: You never know when you might want to re-read them so keep your letters for future!

Of course, you can make up your own rules but these are the rules I like to use. Nice and simple!

Who Can You Make Open When Letter Gifts For?

Supplies for making open when letters.

The short answer is – ANYONE!

There is no limit who can create a open if letter gift for. Even your partner who you live with will appreciate such a sentimental gift, but they are especially great for someone who you don’t see so often.

Here are some great times to gift a set of open when letters:

  • Going to college
  • Adult child moving out of home for the first time
  • Deployed partner in military
  • Someone who works away from home such as fly in fly out
  • Long distance relationship
  • Family member who lives far away
  • Best friend
  • Husband or boyfriend
  • Wife or girlfriend

Open When Letter Ideas

Open when letter labels.

The best thing about open when letters is that you can make them for virtually any moment or situation.

They can be for big life moments, like graduation, birthdays, or their wedding day, but they can also be for little moments when a person is in most need of a comforting message from someone who cares deeply for them, such as having a bad day or feeling discouraged.

Don’t make every letter on this list. That would be overwhelming. Between 10 and 20 is a great number of letters for a gift that lasts a while.

Here is a huge list of open when letter ideas:

  1. You are feeling homesick
  2. You are feeling anxious
  3. You are feeling sad
  4. You are feeling lonely
  5. You are sick
  6. You are feeling indecisive
  7. You need a confidence boost
  8. You are overwhelmed
  9. You miss Dad
  10. You miss Mom/Mum
  11. You have something to celebrate
  12. You can’t sleep
  13. You are having a bad day
  14. You need a laugh
  15. You need advice
  16. You are feeling angry
  17. You are missing family
  18. You are missing Mom/Mum
  19. You need to make a big decision
  20. You need encouragement
  21. You made a mistake
  22. You need a hug
  23. You need caffeine
  24. You need a treat
  25. You want a homecooked meal
  26. You need gas money
  27. You need to see your family
  28. You are feeling discouraged
  29. You are feeling unmotivated
  30. You are feeling disappointed
  31. You are low on funds
  32. It’s your birthday
  33. It’s the first day of Winter
  34. It’s the first day of Summer
  35. It’s the first day of Spring
  36. It’s the first day of Autumn/Fall
  37. You are feeling nervous
  38. You feel like you don’t fit in
  39. You are missing your pet (dog/cat/fur baby)
  40. You need a bit of pampering
  41. It is Easter
  42. It is St. Patrick’s Day
  43. It is Christmas
  44. It is Valentine’s Day
  45. It is Halloween
  46. It is New Year’s Eve
  47. It is Madi Gras
  48. It is Thanksgiving
  49. You need a new playlist
  50. It’s a boring rainy day
  51. You. make a new friend
  52. You miss my face
  53. You are feeling adventurous
  54. You meet someone special
  55. You are feeling hurt
  56. You are feeling lost
  57. You feel stressed out
  58. You need some good luck
  59. Before you start exams
  60. You are feeling nostalgic
  61. You miss your brother
  62. You miss your sister
  63. You miss your grandparents
  64. You are mad at me
  65. You need some fun
  66. You need a pep talk
  67. You are feeling defeated
  68. You need to hear a joke
  69. You are feeling happy
  70. You are craving pizza
  71. You feel like crying
  72. You need a surprise
  73. Just because
  74. You are sick of cafeteria food
  75. You experience a break up
  76. You need a quick mood boost
  77. You run out of clean clothes
  78. You are feeling proud
  79. It’s the first day of January
  80. It’s the first day of February
  81. It’s the first day of March
  82. It’s the first day of April
  83. It’s the first day of May
  84. It’s the first day of June
  85. It’s the first day of July
  86. It’s the first day of August
  87. It’s the first day of September
  88. It’s the first day of October
  89. It’s the first day of November
  90. It’s the first day of December
  91. You need a kiss
  92. It’s our anniversary
  93. It’s the anniversary of the day we met
  94. You get a new job
  95. You get a promotion
  96. You have a nightmare
  97. It’s your first day of your new job
  98. It’s your half birthday
  99. You’ve been gone a week
  100. You’ve been gone a month

What To Include With Open When Letters

The best thing about gifting someone a set of open when letters is that you can make it just letters and it’s literally one of the most beautifully sentimental gifts that doesn’t cost a thing to make.

You can also add in some little extras to make the experience even more fun, if it’s in your budget!

Here are some open when letter gift ideas:

  • Money – This is a particularly great option if you’re gifting your child as they go to college or move out for the first time. You can add cash to buy a pizza or fuel money, depending on the theme of the letter.
  • Gift Vouchers – This can be a Starbucks voucher for a caffeine fix, a pamper voucher, or a movie ticket for a bit of fun.
  • Teabags, speciality coffee beans or treats – These are small gifts that can fit in envelopes for a boost or specific theme.
  • Music Playlist – A list of songs for them to listen to. You can even create a QR code to a pre-made playlist on their music streaming service of choice, like Spotify or Apple Music for them to scan and play.
  • Photos – For letters related to nostalgic or missing family, photos are a great thing to include, particularly if they relate to special moments you shared. Even a photo of you both hugging works great for when they need a hug. It’s not the real thing but it helps them remember the moment.
  • Jokes – When they need a laugh, add some silly jokes or memes.
  • Confetti – Great for celebration-themed letters like birthdays. It adds something unexpected and no doubt they will curse you in the most loving way afterwards.
  • Recipes – When they’re missing a homemade meal, send them a beloved family recipe to make.
  • Scents – If there’s a particular scent that is meaningful to the two of you, add it to some of your letters, like a spritz of a favourite perfume or a drop of essential oils.
  • Lists of Ideas – If you’re writing a letter for a bad day or having trouble sleep, for example, include a list of things that can be helpful for these moments. Sometimes even when we know these things, the reminder is enough to jumpstart the good habits.
  • Video Links – When they are missing family or you, make a little personalised video clip that you add to a USB stick or upload as a private YouTube clip that they can watch. You can add a link or QR code for them to scan to view it.

Printable Open When Letter Kit

If you want to save some time, you can grab my printable open when letters and labels kit, which has 108 labels and matching letterhead for each, as well as blank labels and letters to create your own too and rules of open when letters. You will find this HUGE KIT in my online shop and can download and print the labels you want instantly.

Making an open when letter gift for someone who you care about is quite possibly going to become their favourite gift EVER! It’s such a cute and sentimental gift idea that can work for virtually anyone really! But especially those people you care about that you might not get to see as often as you want!

How to make open when letters with ideas, what to include and more.