Before I even begin writing this, I feel the need to give a little background to why I decided to do these and what they are.
When I was a struggling teen dealing with some pretty heavy emotional issues, the main thing that lifted my spirits was checking the mail as I got home from school to find something for me! I have kept those letters through everything life has thrown at me and you know why? Because the few cards and letters I received were exactly what I needed to get passed all of the teen issues I struggled with.
They never solved my issues completely, but to me that wasn’t what mattered to me. I knew only I could get through it and begin to move on and keep making progress and no amount of good words or cards could automatically solve all my problems at the time.
What mattered was that they were filled with encouragement, love, acceptance. I never did figure out who sent them and looking back now, it doesn’t even matter if my grandparents stuck the letters and cards in the mail to cheer me up, or if someone else wrote them and just never signed them, it helped.
When I first got diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis, Endometriosis, and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, the first thing I did after bawling because I finally had answers was wish I would find a letter in my mailbox. And, yes, I realize it may seem silly to some, but it helped me through so much, I even had a shoe box I kept the letters and cards in so I could keep them but still be able to read them whenever I wanted or needed too,
It was this experience that made me want to brighten up someone’s day, to make a difference, no matter how small, in their lives.
So I began vigorously searching Pinterest and I found the perfect thing. Open When Letters!
Sheri’s Berries wrote a post in May of 2017 with 280 Open When Letter ideas as well as Open When templates. In the article, open when letters are described as Open When letters work by giving someone a series of letters with instructions for opening at a later date or time. They can be as general as “when you miss me”, “when you’re feeling blue”, or more specific like “for your birthday” or “when you graduate college”. Ideas and themes can be as creative as you like—the more specific to the individual (including favorite jokes, movies, TV shows and other shared memories) the better.
I have done 4 different sets of open when letters since last year. 20 for my best friend, 30 for another friend, 50 for my aunt and just recently I gave my friend over 30 for Christmas.
For my sisters graduation this May 2019, I made 100 letters for her. I put them inside another box I bought as a set. That way she can have something to keep the letters in, then use the other for anything else she wants.
3 sets of the letters so far have been for those who live in the same town as me. Yes, they can mean a lot for those out of the state or country, but they can also mean the same for those right here where I live.
I took an envelope apart, traced it onto a piece of cardboard, then used the cardboard to trace it on old scrapbook paper and then cut out and assembled those as well.
The only thing I did not do completely handwritten was DIY labels for the letters that I then printed off and taped to each envelope.
These were some of the ones I did for each set.
- You Get This,
- You Need Comfort,
- You Are Sick,
- You Want To Get High,
- You Need A Surprise,
- You Need A Laugh,
- You Need Some Inspirational Quotes,
- You Feel Like A Failure,
- You Are Angry,
- You Feel Blessed,
- You Feel Stuck In Life,
- You Are Doubting Yourself,
- You’re Nervous,
- You Need A Smile,
- You Feel Unappreciated,
- You Want To Give Up,
- You Need To Know You’re Loved,
- You Need To Believe In Yourself,
- You Feel Lost,
- You Need To Talk,
- You Need Something Extra,
- You Need A Pick Me Up,
- It’s Your Birthday,
- You Want To Hurt Yourself,
- You Need A Hug,
- You Want A Girls Pamper Date,
- You Are In Pain,
- You Are Stressed,
- You Want To Color,
- You Want To Rant.
One of the first sets I did for a family member was for my Aunt Kristy and you can see them in the photo below. The labels were harder to do for those which is why this last set was printed after I created the labels in Word.