50 of the Most Creative Open When Letter Ideas

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Open When Letters – Ideas To Get You Started

Wouldn’t it be great to have a love letter ready to go for your loved one at the moment they need it the most? Open When Letters (also called “Open Me When” Letters) are a unique way to help someone at any moment of need! With these types of letters, you can put pen to paper in advance so that when the time comes, you’re ready to be of comfort to someone you love!

Gifting a Stack of Open When Letters |The Dating Divas
Open When Letter Ideas For Your Spouse.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. To learn more about ’em, click here.

What Are Open When Letters?

Open When Letters are written messages that you can prepare in advance for someone to open during a specific moment. It is an easy way to give a boost of support and love to someone at the exact moment that they need it!

For example, if your loved one is away, you might write them a note of encouragement and label the card “Open When You Miss Me.” Then, when they are sad and missing you, they can pull out the card and undoubtedly feel better.

Who Should I Make Open When Letters For?

One of the things that we love about Open When Letters are how versatile they are! Here are a few situations that would be perfect for this type of gift:

  • Long-distance relationships
  • Spouse leaving on a trip
  • Military families separated during deployment
  • Children away from home for a camp or college
  • Missionary service or study abroad

What Events Should I Write Open When Letters For?

You could create a set of Open When Letters for anything, really! You could write Open When Cards for big life events such as:

  • birthdays
  • anniversaries
  • graduation

You could also write letters for more general moments such as when:

  • they might need a pep talk
  • they need a good laugh
  • they are going through a hard time

Open When Letter Rules

When you gift a set of Open When Letters, you usually want to establish a few rules. We even suggest that you write them down and include them with your set of envelopes as part of the gift. Sometimes, people will put these rules in an envelope and label it “Open First”.

Here are a few Open When Letter rules you might consider:

  • Open when the letter applies.
  • Only open one letter at a time.
  • Open ___ # of letters/week or day.
  • Don’t peek until you really need it!
  • Save the letters to refer to in the future.

How to Make Open When Letters

Tutorial on how to make open when letters

Free Open When Letters PDF Printable

You are gonna LOVE our free printable PDF download of Open When Letter envelope labels and card inserts! It makes creating Open When Cards for your loved one SO easy! You can find these FREE envelope labels and inserts if you scroll to the bottom of this post.

Simply download the PDF and print the free envelope covers and card inserts that you most want to use.

Printable envelope cover for Open When Letters | The Dating Divas
Open When Letters Ideas

Ready for the ultimate list of Open When Letter topic ideas? We’ve included over a dozen of the most popular ideas for you below! Check these out!

Open When Letter Topic Ideas

Open When…

  1. You Need to Know How Much I Love You
  2. You’re Worried
  3. It’s Your Birthday
  4. You Need a Good Laugh
  5. You’re Upset or Angry
  6. It’s Our Anniversary
  7. You Could Use a Little Pep Talk
  8. You’re Feeling Happy
  9. It’s Valentine’s Day
  10. You Are Feeling Lonely
  11. You Want to Reminisce
  12. It’s Christmas Day
  13. You Want Me!
  14. You Can’t Fall Asleep

As you can see, we’ve already done all the work for you. All of the labels are already filled out with fully prepped Open When ideas!


In our free printable PDF download, we have also included blank cards so you can completely personalize your Open When cards. The beauty of an Open When Letter is that it can be customized to ANY occasion and to ANY person. If you want to go beyond the Open When Letter ideas we provided, then feel free to make your own using the blank template! 

Here’s an extended list of other Open When ideas for other occasions you could do in addition to the ones above:

Open When…

  1. You’re Excited
  2. You’re Ready for An Adventure
  3. You Miss Me
  4. You Feel Tired
  5. You’re Overwhelmed
  6. You Feel Sad
  7. You Need Some Cheer
  8. We’ve Said Goodbye
  9. You Feel Like Giving Up
  10. You’re Angry
  11. You’re Traveling Alone
  12. You Need Some Cash
  13. You’re Afraid
  14. You Need to Make a Big Decision
  15. You’re Frustrated with Work
  16. You Have Some Bad Luck
  17. You Are Sick
  18. You’re Confused About Life
  19. I’m Driving You Crazy
  20. You Have Financial Stress
  21. You Need Someone to Believe in You
  22. Someone Let You Down
  23. You Are Disappointed
  24. You Are Stressed
  25. Someone Passes Away
  26. You Are Bored
  27. I’m Angry
  28. You Feel Successful
  29. You Need a Break
  30. You’re Feeling Scared
  31. You Doubt Yourself
  32. You Need a Hug
  33. You’re Having a Bad Day
  34. You Need to Hear a Compliment
  35. You’ve Made a Mistake
  36.  You Need Some Motivation

What Supplies Do I Need To Make Open When Cards?

Making your Open When Cards is so simple. You need very few supplies.

Several colorful envelopes of Open When Cards |The Dating Divas
Open When Cards

Here a few things we suggest:

  • Envelopes – We love these ones because they fit perfectly and are so colorful!
  • Pens – We love these gel ones. They are so colorful and smooth!
  • Box (optional) – We are fans of gifting these in a keepsake box. These letters will be a treasure!
  • Printable Open When Cards & Labels (download for free below)

What Do You Write in Open When Letters?

You might be wondering, “How do you start an Open When Letter?” and “What do I write in the Open When Letters?” Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

Writing Open When Letters for Spouse |The Dating Divas
What Do You Write in Open When Letters?

We know it can be hard to figure out what exactly to write for an in-advance letter. But here are a few suggestions to help get you started with what to include:

  • Share your own experiences! Nothing builds connection and shows love more than a relatable personal experience.
  • Make them laugh! Laughter really is the BEST medicine… and can be the perfect way to share your love.
  • Compliment them! Affirming words can go a LONG way in brightening someone’s day.
  • Write a quote. If the words aren’t coming to you, maybe start with a quote that expresses what you want to say and then you can expand from there.
  • Write about a memory together. This can really bring a lot of emotions and make your letter personal.

What to Put Inside an Open When Letter

Besides your letter, you can also get creative with adding in a special item. Always consider the length of time until they might open the letter when making your choices.

Envelopes filled with Open When Cards and messages | The Dating Divas
Open When Ideas

Here are a few items you might consider adding to your envelope:

  1. Gift Card
  2. Balloons
  3. Photograph
  4. Drawing or art
  5. Tickets
  6. Bookmark
  7. Candy
  8. An item sprayed with a familiar scent
  9. Jewelry
  10. Origami
  11. Candles (perfect for a birthday)

Done-For-You Open When Letter Kits

Our readers have LOVED our Open When Letters! They expressed that they loved the idea so much but they wanted MORE printables and MORE help to write their letters. So, we put together two unique Open When Letter printable packs. They help make it easy to put together an unforgettable love letter for the people you love. We have a general version for a loved one and a version specifically with Open When Letter ideas and printables for your kids!

Open Me When Letters Kit |The Dating Divas
Open Me When Letters Kit

Our Ultimate Open When Letters Kit in our store includes:

  • Editable “Open When” to customize your envelope covers
  • Coordinating cards that can be typed on directly before printing
  • An expansive list of “Open When” topic options
  • Sample letters 
  • Letter-writing prompts to help get you started
  • Pre-written cards to keep things easy
  • Box Cover Keepsake
  • And more!
Open When kit of letters for kids | The Dating Divas
Open when Letters Kit for Kids

We also have an Open When Letters for Kids Kit that is absolutely amazing for all those special moments in your kid’s life! From when they are just learning to read to when they are graduating high school or even going off and getting married, these Open When Cards are a perfect sentiment!

This Open When Letters for Kids Kit includes:

  • 35 coordinating labels and cards (including 10 BIG milestones stationery)
  • Keepsake box cover to store your letters in
  • “Open Me Right Now” card explaining the Open When Letter rules

Whatever way you choose to do this project, we’ve done all the prep work for you to make writing your letters easy peasy. Now you’re all set and ready to write a stack of meaningful, heartfelt letters to your loved one!

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"Open When" Letters

Printables Designed by Erin @ Strawberry Mommycakes Exclusively for The Dating Divas


I met my husband, in a beginning ballroom dance class at the age of 15. He was my first crush, my first date, and twelve years (to the day) later we married. Together we enjoy traveling the world, and, of course, going on creative dates! I am a former theatre teacher who now stays at home with a spunky little boy. I love dancing, hosting parties, photography, organizing & chocolate!

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Recent Comments

  1. Hello, I’ve read this whole article and I love the idea, but I can’t find how to print it. I also found the kits, but they are not free. So I wanted to ask, if this article has a free printable “Open when…” printables?
    Thank you!

    1. Yes! It does. If you scroll down to the very bottom you’ll see a section that says “Free Download.” If you click on the pink bar with the white words that say “Click to Download” your free printables will open in another window. If you have any trouble, email us at divas@thedatingdivas.com and we can help!

  2. I love this idea. I am going to share it with my husband in hopes that he will make some for me…lol!

  3. I LOVE this idea I’m very poorly so don’t get to see my grandchildren on bad days but now I can communicate with them on the days I’m unable to talk thank you I had never heard of this before ?

  4. Thank you so much for your time and dedication to all your online work!!! I took alot of your advice. I made one for my husband and now i think my mother deserves an β€œopen when” box of cards!!! Thank you again!!

  5. I really love these, they are so cute!! But I honestly don’t know what to actually say inside of the letters.

  6. Well, i’m doing this gift idea for my boyfriend but what i actually came here to figure out was what to put inside the envelopes other than letters. any ideas?

  7. I submitted payment through PayPal and I do not see anything in my emails to download. I even checked my junk. Can someone please contact me as soon as possible please?

    1. Hi Prity, thank you so much for letting us know! Our customer service gal is ready to help you! Could you please email her at ferren@thedatingdivas.com with all of your information? I have notified her of your email coming in and she is ready for you!

  8. LOVE LOVE LOVE, this idea! i did last year for my man for Valentines day and add a few every now and then and for other special occasions! It’s a great gift to continue on and to always show you S/O their on your mind!

  9. When I did it for my boyfriend I purchased Heavyweight Brown Kraft envelopes with reusable clasp (from the dollar store they measure about 6X9 inches). It allowed me to add a few extra surprises to each one. For instant on the one for Open When its your birthday I put 2 birthday cards filled with confetti

  10. I made these Open When Letters for my boyfriend that is in the military. He loves to open them when he is away serving our country. He says that he always look forward seeing what surprises are in each envelope…….I told him just don’t open them around other people LOL (some of them have private things in them). Thanks for the great idea

  11. I am so glad I found this page!! Sadly my is terminally ill with stage 4 cancer. She has already wrote us all sealed letters but I am going to print these for me and my brother and have her write for each one to help us cope! <3 πŸ™‚

    1. Oh Brooke, I am so sorry to hear that. We lost my Father-in-law last year. I hope you do this and it’s able to ease your grief during this trying time. Nothing will make up for her loss but it is so special to have those moments in the years to come. Big hugs! XO

  12. Hello from Germany
    I Love this Website. I use them a lot of time and take the Great Ideas for my Boyfriend, Family or my Friends when they is a reason like Birthday, Anniversary or other stuff.

    Thanks for this Site=)

    Best regreats


    1. Hmmm… you could put in a 4-leaf clover, a lucky penny, or a rabbit’s foot keychain (anything LUCKY) along with a love note wishing him luck and telling him how amazing he is. Hope that helps. XOXO

  13. I love these Open When letters too – and am in the process of trying to create ones for my Mum before I leave for China. Are there any editable ones anywhere as the downloadable file here is mainly linked to partners/hubby/wifey! πŸ™‚

    1. Unfortunately we don’t have editable ones, but you are welcome to edit them in Photoshop yourself for personal use only.

  14. Hello, I loved the idea and would love to do for my boyfriend, but he does not speak English (we are Brazilians)… I would like to translate the envelope labels to Portuguese, you could tell me what the font?
    Thank you for your attention and congratulations for the idea <3

    1. Of course. The fonts our designer used are: Museo-300, Museo-700, PlutoBold, and PlutoLight. Hope that helps! πŸ™‚

  15. I just printed out these and love them! One quick question – do you have a recommendation on what type of envelopes to buy? Or what size they need to be?

  16. I was looking for something for my daughter for when she leaves for University this fall. We’ve always been super close and it’s going to be a hard transition for both of us..
    I’m going to write her letters and hide them in her box when she packs so when she’s lonely or just needs to hear from us she can pick up a letter and remember how much we love her are so proud of her. πŸ™‚ Thank you!!!

  17. OMG I’m so happy that i found your website!!. i actually don’t have any ideas how to write letters for my boyfriend. this is my first time to write letters for him. we’re really far away though he lives in New York and I’m from Asia. anyways thanks for the wonderful ideas!!!

  18. Loved it, but when I printed it it came out looking different from yhe ones on the website :/ Really dont get why?

  19. I have often seen this idea, the “open when” letters, and kinda just shrugged it off, but its my first year of college and I actually have to stay at campus all summer into the next school year and the separation has been hard on my mother and I, so I get to go home this weekend after final exams and be there for Mother’s Day. I bought her a special necklace that will be arriving late, so I wanted to do something else to make it even more special. and I came across this. I thought it would be perfect for my mother, not just on Mother’s Day but all summer when I can be there with her. THANK YOU SO MUCH

  20. Your website is the cutest thing! My boyfriend and I are coming up on our 1 year anniversary and I can’t wait to use this! We are long distance and I think it will be perfect for us.

  21. Love these =) Sending with my husband who is deploying… what size envelopes do y’all use? Thanks!

    1. Morgan – if you download the printables, you should be able to check out the sizing on the covers. πŸ˜‰

  22. I have to go back to my country in the end of June
    So I think this would be the special gift for my boyfriend πŸ™‚

  23. Love this idea!

    Could people share their ideas of what you put inside? Don’t want to put letters etc in all of them (husband hates reading!) so has anybody thought of something inventive or quirky?!

    1. The envelopes for ‘laughter’ and ‘reminiscing’ could include pictures of happy/laughter-inducing memories. Also, I did something similar to this for my husband and in the ‘when you want to smile’ envolope I placed a small recordable button (purchased from Hallmark) with the recorded laughter of our infant son. It worked :). Hope that helps!

  24. Wow ladies when do you get time to do all this…. I’m a working mom of 2 teenagers and I’m running arround like a craze person.
    I just love all your ideas but have no time to get this all done…
    Any tips for the working mom and wife?
    Much love and dont stop what you girls are doing πŸ™‚

    1. We’re all busy. Im going to college for nuclear physics and have class 20 hours a week. As well as a part time job for 25/30 hours a week and an internship for 20 hours a week. As well as doing tutoring for about five hours a week for extra money as well as having to study and exercise every morning among other things. Its a matter of how badly you want to make time for such crafts. I stayed up literally all night to do this and other little projects for my boyfriend. Took three cups of coffee and i was exhausted at work, but I really wanted to do this for him.

  25. This is going to be my first Christmas with my boyfriend; after going through a divorce after such a young age, I was eager to make him a gift, just to show him how thankful I am to have found him. He’s my best friend, and a great reminder of how great life can be again.
    He lives a few states away, so it’s hard to always cheer him up when he needs it. I’m in my own funk, and couldn’t think of anything practical (I’m not the romantic-minded type)…. but this is an amazing idea! I know he’ll just love it!

    1. Allison- I’m SO glad that you’ll be able to use it for your boyfriend. Hope he just LOVES it! Merry Christmas! πŸ™‚

  26. Daughter leaving for college soon. These will be included in a special bag she will take with her. Great if she never has to open one of the envelopes, but if she does we hope it brings her solace and laughter.

  27. Do you guys have any of these templates so we can put our own “open when…” on them? I have more ideas for the letters I’m giving my man and I wanted them all to match…

    1. Unfortunately we don’t have an editable template. However, if you have Photoshop or a similar program, you are more than welcome to edit ours to make your own extra matching letters for your own personal use. πŸ™‚

  28. These are absolutely beautiful ideas. All of them! Such a wonderful gift, that really help when in need of something special.

    Thankyou so much !

  29. These will be perfect for my boyfriend!! We recently moved in together but strangely it seems like we spend less time together than ever before. With our work schedules it seems like we only see each other when I drive him to work and pick him up some days. I also know he has been very stressed lately to due to some family issues and I think these could be a perfect pick me up!

  30. This is perfect for my boyfriend who’s in the Army. Can’t wait to print these out and send them to him! He’ll love it. Thank you so much!

  31. So, I actually decided to do these for my boyfriend for Christmas last year, and I’m in the process of making 50. They’re (finally) almost done. He knows what he’s getting, they should be done around the beginning of March. But I gave him the first one on Christmas, and the rest will get to him soon. I did, however, decide to go all out. I’m making 50, and each one comes with two quotes and the letter, and some come with pictures, and gifts, and all kinds of things. That’s the reason I’m still not done, though. I can’t afford to get all the supplies to go inside of them. It will probably cost about $200…… I’m getting there, though!

  32. Thank you so much for this! My hubby and I are newlyweds and he can be called to work on an oil rig at the drop of a hat which means no phone, sometimes internet for email but never enough bandwidth for skype, and he can call me off the rig’s landline but they have a strict 10 minute rule on phone calls home.

    This is ideal because it’s small and lightweight and I can sneak it into his bag for when he goes away πŸ™‚

  33. Ooohh this is soo good! I just finished making mine (didn’t use the printable ones..thought I’d personally do my own). I felt so sad while making them — just wished I can be there for my man instead of him opening those letters when he is feeling sad, happy, angry, worried etc. :'(

    Oh well, this helps a lot. I really think he will love it! Thank you for sharing your wonderful idea!!!

    1. So glad you were able to use this idea. I’m sure he will LOVE it!!! If you can’t be with him, at least your love can. XOXO

  34. This is SUCH a cute idea! I just left for school and my boyfriend and I have been really struggling being apart. I think he will love it πŸ™‚

  35. I was trying to find some letter ideas for my sister. She is leaving for Basic Training in Texas for the Air Force on Monday. Great inspiration! Thank you so much!

  36. Thank you so much for sharing this awsome idea! I am deployed right now and it becomes kind of difficult to be so far away from my bf so this is a perfect pick me up!

    1. Tricia, thank you for your sacrifice and service! Hope this helps keep you connected across the miles. πŸ™‚

  37. Thank you SO much for the download…I’ve been wanting to make these for my hubby’s upcoming deployment and am so glad you shared a premade template for those of us who are not crafty enough to make something so cute ourselves! πŸ™‚ Question about the template…is there a way to edit it to add more…was thinking of adding other “open whens,” but can’t seem to figure out how to manipulate the template to make more. Thanks again!

    1. Hi Lindsey, so glad you’ll be able to use them for your husband’s upcoming deployment. So sorry that you have to be apart, but hope that he loves this! There are a couple of blank cards if you would like to add other “open whens”- you can just write on it or use a photoshop program if you are skilled in that area. πŸ˜‰

  38. I LOVE this idea. My fiancΓ© and my second anniversary is this weekend. We live two hours apart, and while it’s not a HUGELY long distance relationship, we only get to see each other on weekends, and he can get down when I’m not there (as can I.) These would be a great for lifting his spirits in those times, cuz it’s a little bit of us together for him to flip through when he needs it πŸ™‚

    1. Happy Anniversary, Tiana! So glad you’re able to use this idea- hope it helps lift his spirits when you have to be apart. πŸ˜‰

  39. Ahhh… Thank you!!! I was going to do these for my boyfriend for Christmas (we live 1200 miles apart), but I decided to wait – and now I have adorable stationary to do them on! So cute. πŸ™‚

  40. LOVE these! Thank you so much for taking the time to make and post them and for sharing the printables!!! These are going to be getting a lot of use πŸ™‚ Thank you!

  41. Perfect!!! At the moment, my husband and I only get to each other at the weekends and it has been really hard on him. I am printing right now and can’t wait to give him the envelopes!!!
    Thank you!

  42. Wow Becca, what a fantastic idea!! Everything is so cute to go along with it too…I really love the cute ‘stamps’ to go with each one:)

  43. I absolutely LOVE this idea!!!!! I am all about the ‘from the heart’ kind of gifts. Seeing a line-up of letters like this makes me SO happy!!!!! It truly IS perfect for any person! A husband, kiddos, parents, a loved one far away. LOVE it!!!!

  44. These are wonderful. I was trying to think of a little something special for my hubby. He is going to be traveling a lot the next year and I wanted to make an emergency travel kit. He does love his family and gets homesick.
    Thank you SO much!!

  45. These are so cool! But you know, I’m thinking that they would actually be perfect for my mom. She still gets a little down because I don’t live nearby anymore. I can see these being great pick-me-ups for her and reminders that I still care. So while they’re great for the men in our lives, they also work wonderfully for other family members and loved ones. πŸ™‚