How To's, Military Life

Open When Letter Topics & Ideas….with Examples!

Open When Letters were made wildly popular circa 2007 after Gerard Butler left them for his grieving wife in the movie ‘P.S. I Love You’. Since then, long-distance girlfriends and military spouses have been sending these adorable letters all over the globe.

cover of PS I Love You movieYou give or send open when letters to your loved one with specific instructions on when to open them. They can be used to celebrate special anniversaries, holidays, and events or to encourage, cheer, and reassure them when they are having a bad day.

Open when letters are especially useful for service members who can’t get regular mail (i.e service members on submarines, special forces, those in remote locations etc.). In these situations, you give your loved one all the letters before their departure and they open the letters when the need or special day arrives.

There are many themes and types of open when letters that you can make. They can be as simple or elaborate as you like. You could include gifts, jokes, and pictures or just send the letters by themselves. You can make them for special dates (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc), which is a surefire way to make sure that you don’t forget it because it is already done in advance.

ideas for open when letters

There are a bazillion ways to make each letter unique, so much that it’s hard to know where to start. I knew that I wanted to make some for my husband while he was gone as part of my Deployment Bucket List.

Below are the Open When Letters I sent my husband during his 15-month hardship tour and a list of all the things I included in them.

Open It Now

open when letters: open it now

This letter is a must! It explains the ‘rules’ of the letters and gives instructions on when to open them.

  • rules for the letters
  • love letter/sweet note

Open When You’re Sick

open when letter: open when you are sick

This letter was kind of like a mini care package for a sick day. It sucks not being there for your loved one when they are sick, but this is the closest thing you can do to take care of them from far away.

    • get well soon card
    • cough drops
    • pack of tissues
    • vitamin c drops
    • travel-sized medicine

Open When I’m Mad at You

open when letters: open when I'm mad at you

If you’re in a long-distance relationship (or any relationship) you are going to argue. This letter is can serve as a reminder that even though you’re angry now, there is so much more love to be shared.

  • long letter
  • pictures of us together
  • marriage/relationship quotes
  • sweet meme

Open When You’re Stressed

open when letters: open when you are stressed

Living away from family and friends is hard. Add in the strain of a job, school, or combat and stress levels rise exponentially. This letter is a reminder that this, too, shall pass. On the backs of the pictures I tried to put relevant or funny captions.

    • “treat yo’self” card with money
    • funny memes
    • scripture
    • encouraging card/letter
    • pictures of loved one with funny captions
    • piece of bubble wrap

Open When You Need a Confidence Boost

open when letters: open when you need confidence boost

Some days you just aren’t ‘feeling yourself’, which is where this letter comes in. It’s a great way to remind your loved one of all of their best qualities. The little book of ‘Why You’re So Awesome’ was probably my husband’s favorite thing in all of the letters. I filled in some of the answers myself, but I let the kids answer most of them, which made it funny.

  • reassuring card/letter
  • diy book about why you’re so awesome
  • your favorite picture of your loved one

Open When You Are Sad

open when letters: open when you are sad

Being sad is inevitable, especially when you’re away from the people you love. This letter is an excellent opportunity to remind your loved one of all your inside jokes and fun times.

        • whoopee cushion
        • funny meme
        • “treat yo’self” coupon with money
        • encouraging card/letter
        • illustrated list of things to do when you’re sad

      Open When You Are REALLY Bored

      open when letters: open when you are really bored

      Boredom is the worst when you’re away from family and friends. It’s a terrible reminder of how lonely you are. This letter is a chance to try something new and maybe learn a little bit about each other while you’re at it. (Sidenote: the Ghostbusters bookmark isn’t pictured, but her daddy loved it & still uses it all the time.)

          • bookmark
          • relationship questions
          • relationship crossword puzzle
          • funny memes
          • word search, Sudoku, maze, etc.

      Open When You Miss Me

      open when letters: open when you miss me

      Missing your loved one sucks, but it sucks even more to know that they are missing you and there’s nothing you can do about it. This letter is a good way to remind your loved one of just how much you love them and miss them too.

            • sweet quote
            • sweet, but funny meme
            • pictures of yourself
            • love letter/sweet card

      Open When You Miss the Kids

      open when letters: open when you miss Lainey

      open when letters: open when you miss Lyvi

      Being away from your children and missing out on part of their lives is heart-breaking. These letters (I did one for each kid) are an uplifting way to remind your loved one that their children haven’t forgotten about them and they are missing their daddy/mommy too.

          • card/letter from child
          • pictures of child with daddy/mommy
          • drawings from child
          • small trinket or candy that child picked out

      Open When You’re Jealous of Jody

      open when letters: open when you are jealous of Jody

      Only military couples will understand the title of this letter, but it’s basically a letter for when your significant other is afraid that you will leave them for someone else while they are gone. This letter is a perfect opportunity to reassure your loved one that they are the only one for you.

            • inappropriate, but funny Ike Turner memes
            • pictures of us together
            • reassuring card/letter

      Open When You Have Doubts

      open when letters: open when you have doubts

      Doubting ourselves is unavoidable, especially when we’re under pressure. This letter can serve as a reminder for all of your loved one’s admirable qualities and serve as encouragement for whatever stressful situation they are facing.

          • encouraging card/letter
          • sweet quote/song lyric
          • picture with funny caption

      Open When Time Has Slowed Down

      open when letters: open when time has slowed down

      During a deployment, time will slow to an absolute crawl. This letter reminds your loved one that this season of their life WILL eventually end and they WILL be home again.

          • scripture
          • “treat yo’self” coupon with money
          • encouraging card/letter
          • funny picture

      I hope these ideas get you started on your own Open When Letters and that your loved one enjoys them as much as my husband did!

      Ideas for open when letters
    • open when letter ideas, topics, and examples open when letters: topics, examples, and ideas
  • open when letters examples
    open when letters examples