The Ultimate Guide To Writing ‘Open When…’ Letters

July 30, 2021

When there’s distance between you and a loved one, missing them can really take its toll. Whether it’s a means for keeping in touch during a long-distance relationship or something you leave behind once you pass, Open When letters are a super special, personal, and creative way to let someone know you’re thinking of them, providing them with a little extra love when they need it most.

Usually, when we send a letter, we want the recipient to open it right away. With Open When letters, there are certain rules each party must adhere to. Most importantly, the recipient of the letters must wait until particular moments in time to open each one. Read on to learn more about Open When letters, how they work, what they’re for, and how to write the best ones ever!


What are Open When Letters?

Open When letters are letters you write to a special someone for them to open at a later date. Usually, a series of letters are sent with instructions on the outside of when the recipient should open each one.

For example, you might write to a faraway relative “Open When Your Feeling Homesick”, or you could give a dear friend an “Open When You Need A Giggle” letter.

Open When letters offer support to your loved ones from afar, particularly in times when you might not be able to show up in person. You can give single Open When letters or a series of letters to open on various occasions in the future.

You can also write Open When letters to your future self. You might want to include some personal items, turning your letters into a mini time capsule.


What Do You Write in Open When Letters?

The fun part about it is that you can choose to include whatever you like! You can simply write a heartfelt letter, or you can add small gifts, photos, and fun treasures for your loved one to enjoy that compliment the theme of each envelope. It’s so simple and gives you full creative control, making it extra personal and extra fun!


What Are the Rules of Open When Letters?

In the first letter, you might want to jot down the rules of the envelopes. You can create your own instructions, but here are some rules we recommend for reference:

1.         NO peeking!
2.        Only open the letter when the topic REALLY applies
3.         Open the letters sparingly
4.         Save them so you can look back on them in the future
5.         Only open the letters when you’re alone
6.         Enjoy them!


30 Topic Ideas for Open When Letters

The main purpose of Open When letters is for your loved one to open the letter at a moment’s notice, whenever they’re missing home or feel like they need a little extra support. The best ones are the ones that feel the most intimate, so personalize your letters with what’s coming up in your special someone’s life. Here are 30 Open When letter topics for inspiration:

-         Open when you get there
-         Open when you need a laugh
-         Open when you need a hug
-         Open when you’re sick
-         Open when you’re nervous
-         Open when you're excited
-         Open when you’re feeling nostalgic
-         Open when you’re stressed
-         Open when you feel alone
-         Open when you’re having a great day
-         Open when you’re having a bad day
-         Open when you can’t sleep
-         Open when you’re missing home
-         Open when you feel like giving up
-         Open when you need reminding how much I love you
-         Open when you miss me
-         Open when you’re mad at me
-         Open when it’s raining
-         Open when the sun is shining
-         Open when it’s my birthday
-         Open when it’s your birthday
-         Open when you turn 40
-         Open when it’s the first day of summer
-         Open when it’s the first day of fall
-         Open when it’s the first day of spring
-         Open when it’s snowing
-         Open when you need a study break
-         Open when you ace your exam
-         Open when you land a new job
-         Open when it's New Years


How to Write the Perfect Open When Letter

Writing an Open When letter might sound like a thoughtful project you'd love to do for someone special in your life, but you might be struggling to find where exactly to begin. If that's the case, follow these steps to make your letter a great one…

Step 1: Choose your ‘Open When’ topic
Struggling for ideas? Take a peek at the examples listed above.

Step 2: Offer encouragement and support
Let your special someone know how inspiring and brave they are, or remind your future self of how far you’ve come.

Step 3: Recall the past
Think about past events to remind your loved one or your future self how you’ve dealt with and triumphed similar circumstances before. Alternatively, offer words of support that are similar to those that have helped in the past.

Step 4: Include your sense of humor
Whether it’s an inside joke or a light-hearted quip, include something that will make the recipient smile.

Step 5: Remind them how much they are loved
Everyone needs a pick-me-up every now and then and who doesn't like being comforted by hearing the words 'I love you' from their nearest and dearest when they're struggling?

Step 6: Include thoughtful items
A tea sachet when they’re sick, a spritz of your perfume when they miss you - you get the idea.

Step 7: Involve other family members and friends
If the letter is being delivered to someone far away, have people from their inner circle write their own messages of encouragement, congratulations, and well wishes.

Pen and paper at the ready? You're all set! Have fun making your loved ones feel cherished wherever in the world they are!

Emily Davies
Fun Stuff

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