Most people in my life could tell you that I’m a huge fan of homemade gifts. When I was younger, it was more about saving money, but the older I get, the more I like to give gifts that have extra meaning. One of my favorite homemade gifts to give is Open When Letters. These are perfect for anyone in your life, whether it’s a long-distance relationship or friendship, someone leaving for college, parents or grandparents that live far away from you, someone getting deployed or on an extended work assignment, this gift can literally apply to nearly any scenario in your life.
I’ve known many people that like to give Open When Letters and have it be just that, letters, but I like to live by that quote from Waiting, “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little something extra,” so I like to include small gifts with a few of the letters that I include.
I’ve compiled a list of ideas for Open When Letters, as well as ideas for small gifts to include. For some more ideas, you can check out my original post by clicking here.
…it’s Christmas: Include their Christmas gift or Christmas-related items, such as a mini tree, battery-operated Christmas lights, Christmas clothes (pajamas, ugly Christmas sweater, Christmas socks, etc.), stockings, Christmas decor, Christmas candy, etc.
…it’s New Year’s Eve: A Hershey’s kiss to stand in place of a New Year’s kiss if y’all are apart. Anything shimmery, glittery or gold. Confetti poppers, party hats and sparklers. A planner or notebook for the new year. Printables for things like to-do lists, shopping lists, daily goals, etc. Sparkling cider or champagne with plastic glasses.
…it’s Valentine’s Day: All the candy. Anything pink, red and white. Anything related to love. A stuffed animal. Fake flowers. Cute couple-y photos of you and your significant other. A box full of things he/she loves. Pretty printables or framed love lyrics or quotes.
…it’s Mardi Gras: Beads! Anything purple, green or gold. Anything that has a fleur-de-lis on it. Louisiana-themed food mixes and spices, such as Tony Chachere’s, Slap Ya Mama, Cafe du Monde, hurricane drink mix, etc. Something king-cake flavored.
…it’s any other major holiday: Thanksgiving, Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, Independence Day, Easter, etc. Think of things that are themed toward those holidays and go for it!
…it’s any other non-major holiday: There’s a holiday for everything. My favorite site for silly, unofficial holidays is Holiday Insights.
…it’s your birthday: Include their birthday gift along with other fun birthday items, such as party hats, confetti, a birthday sash, birthday decor, a fun birthday cup, etc.
…you’re bored: Puzzles, riddles, Sodoku, word searches and crossword puzzles. Books. Handheld digital games or mini version of games, like pool or foosball. Adult coloring book with colored pencils.
…you need a laugh: A joke book. Funny photos or memes. Comedy movies.
…you’re going for a work-out: Protein shakes. Energy bars. A sweatband. A pedometer. Socks. Bottled water. A work-out playlist. A work-out shirt.
…you have a bad day: Something you know cheers them up. For me, I like comfort food or a hug. You could include hot cocoa or tea packets. Chocolate or candies they like. Make a list of things that make them awesome or that you like about them. A feel good movie or season of a TV show. A gift certificate to the spa.
…you need a hug: A video of you sending positive vibes and giving a virtual hug to the recipient. Framed photos of the two of you. A stuffed animal they can hug in the meantime. A pillow with a handwritten message saying that you hugged it and then sent it to them so they can hug it when you can’t be there.
…you’re taking a trip: Depending on what kind of trip they’re going on, you can have a lot of fun with this one. If they’re going somewhere cold, you can include things like a beanie, a soft blanket, a warm jacket, cozy socks, hot chocolate, hand warmers, etc. If they’re going to the beach, you can give them sunscreen, sunglasses, a beach towel, a water bottle, etc.
…you’re hungry: This one is easy – include snacks! But make sure you check the expiration date. If you think it’ll be awhile before they open it, include an “open by…” message on the gift. You could also include a gift card to a fast food restaurant or to his/her favorite restaurant.
…you can’t sleep: Include things that will help them go to sleep, such as a sleep mask, relaxing oils or lotions, soft socks or tea packets.
…you’re homesick: Photos. Anything that could remind them of home, such as food from their favorite restaurants, paraphernalia from their favorite stores, handwritten memories you’ve had in certain spots, etc. You could also tell them to call you for a Skype date and reminiscing session.
…you’re happy: A box full of happiness. I associate happiness with the color yellow. You could easily put together a box full of things and snacks that are yellow.
…you don’t know what to cook for dinner: A few Pinterest recipes or a recipe book
…you’re sick: A box of tissues, cans of soup, cough drops, lip balm, Vitamin C, NyQuil.
…you need to relax: A handheld massage or back scratcher. Comfortable clothes and socks. Essential oils. A pillow. A comfortable bathrobe. Heated blanket. Candles.
…you feel like crying: A box of tissues. A feel good or sappy movie. A mix CD with happy songs on it. A coupon good for an infinite number of phone calls or video chats for them to redeem ASAP.
…you need to know someone cares: Ask for the important people in that person’s life to write feel good letters to the recipient. Put those letters together and present it as one gift for them to open when they need it.
…you’re feeling anxious: Anything to help them relax – bubble bath or a bath bomb, comfort foods, relaxing music, a heated blanket
…you’re feeling insecure: A list of reasons why they’re incredible. Photos of them looking extra amazing. A self-help book.
…you’re feeling overwhelmed: Something to help them relax – bubble bath, bath salts or a bath bomb. Soothing music. A gift certificate to the spa. A bottle of wine. Comfort foods. Hot tea, hot cocoa or coffee.
…we haven’t talked in awhile: A reminder that you’re always there for them. A planner with phone dates for the two of you penciled in.
…you feel out of place: Think of things that make them feel comfortable. For me, I like to get lost in a good book, so a book would be a great gift for this one. If they like music, include a mixed CD or music by their favorite artist, an iTunes gift card or headphones. If they like to paint, include a canvas, brushes and paints. You could also do comforting things, such as a scarf, blanket, etc.
…you need a night out: A new shirt, dress or outfit for them to wear. A gift card to a nice restaurant. A pack of beers or bottle of wine.
…you get some awesome news: A mini bottle of champagne. A gift certificate to a local bakery because cake is necessary for all celebrations.
…you need someone to talk to, and I’m not around: A journal for them to write down their thoughts.
…you need an adventure: A book for them to get lost in or a travel guide to a place they want to visit.
…you don’t feel like cooking: A gift certificate to a local restaurant
…it’s fall/summer/winter/spring: Think of seasonalized gifts and put extra emphasis on their favorite season(s). Like most, my favorite season is fall, so scarves, anything pumpkin-y, hot cocoa, s’mores kits, etc. would be perfect.
…you’re hungover: Coffee. A comfortable pillow and blanket so they can sleep longer. Bottled water.
…you’re feeling blue: A package full of blue-colored things. You could also do with orange, yellow and other colors that you can think of a pun for.
…we’re fighting: An apology letter – make it generic enough to apply to any situation, but specific enough to recognize your own faults and why you think you may have gotten into a disagreement in the first place.
…you miss me: A picture of the two of you. A gas card for him/her to come see you.
…you’re on the way to see me/I’m on my way to see you: Be sure to write in your letter how excited you are for your reunion!
…we don’t know what to do for date night: Include a pre-planned date idea, such as making a meal at home, a movie night or a themed evening. Then include some of the things you’ll need to make the date happen.
…it’s our anniversary: If you’re spending your anniversary apart, include photos and mementos of some of your memories together. You could also include a date night at home package, such as PJ’s, a blanket, snacks and a movie, and then you can watch the same movie together while you’re apart.
…you want to walk down memory lane: A timeline and nearly literal walk down memory lane with photos and anything you may have kept, such as movie or concert tickets, pamphlets or brochures to places you’ve been together, etc.
…you need to know how much I love you: A list of things you love about them or a list of reasons why you love them. Recount your love story. Reminisce on the first time you told each other that you love each other.
…you need a kiss: A bag of Hershey’s kisses
…you need a hug: A bag of Hershey’s hugs.
…you want to feel appreciated.
…you fall in love with me.
…we haven’t spoken all day.
…you’re upset with me.
…it’s my time of the month.
…your football (or any other sport) team wins.
…your football (or any other sport) team loses.
…it’s date night.
…you want to apologize/say I’m sorry.
…you want to be alone.
…we’ve been apart for # days.
…it’s finals week: An energy shot or energy bars. Candy for mini sugar rushes. Red Bull or their preferred energy drinks. Games or puzzles for them to do during their breaks. Notebooks, paper, highlighters, index cards, pens and any other study tools they may need. A pillow to remind them to get some sleep.
…it’s your first day of school: Cute dorm decor. Any school supplies. Photos.
…it’s your last day of school: Something to get them excited about the summer. You could do an orange-themed box that says “Orange you glad the school year’s over,” and include things that are primarily orange.
…it’s your graduation day: Put together some of the cheesy “Congrats Grad” paraphernalia that’s available in all stores. A personalized keychain with their graduation date. A scrapbook of every year of their life leading up to graduation day.
…you’re going to a job fair: A padfolio. Fancy pens. A small bag for any freebies from companies. A lint roller. A tie.
…it’s spring break: For a beach trip, include sunglasses, a beach towel, sunscreen, etc.
…you aced your test.
…you failed your test.
…you’re disappointed in a grade.
…you’re pulling an all-nighter.
…you’re freaking out about your future.
…you’re nervous before a big test.
…you have a fight with your roommate.
…you disagree with your professor.
…you want to change your major.
…you’re on the way to the hospital: A newborn outfit, lip balm, baby lotion, a video camera, sleeping mask, earplugs.
…you find out the sex of the baby: Include different male- and female-themed gifts. You could also choose gifts in neutral colors.
…it’s the day of your baby shower: Include a gift of their registry. Diapers. Lots and lots of diapers. And wipes.
…you’re decorating the nursery: Any kind of knick-knack or decor for them to include in the nursery
…he/she takes their first step: Baby shoes and socks
…he/she says their first word: Books for them to read to the newborn
…he/she celebrates their first Christmas: A “first Christmas” ornament
…he/she celebrates their first Halloween: A baby costume
…he/she isn’t sleeping through the night: A CD with lullabies. A baby blanket. A stuffed animal.
…he/she laughs for the first time
…he/she rolls over for the first time
…he/she starts crawling
…he/she eats solid food for the first time
…you need a pick me up.
…you’re having the best day.
…we’re spending time apart.
…you need to talk, and I’m not answering.
…you’re going through a crisis.
…you need a change.
…you’re stressed out.
…you’re mad at me.
…you’ve had a long day.
…something awesome happens.
…we’re miles apart.
…you’re feeling lost.
…you forget how strong you are.
…you need a confidence boost.
…you need some “me” time.
…you’re doubting yourself.
…you feel like it.
…you need reassurance.
…you had a hard day at work.
…you got a promotion.
…you got fired.
…you’re feeling lazy.
…you get bad news.
…you’re feeling lonely.
…you need some inspiration.
…you miss [a person, pet, a place, etc.]
…you need a friend.
What other ideas do you have for Open When Letters?