13 Creative ‘Open When’ Letters for Mom Ideas


There are many reasons why you might be interested in writing an ‘open when’ letter to your mom. A collection of these letters tied together with a big, beautiful bow makes for a meaningful gift. 

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Perhaps you are moving out of the house, headed to college, going on a long trip, or moving far away. Maybe there’s some other impending life change, and you know your mom could use a bit of extra support. Regardless of the occasion, ‘open when’ letters make for unique and thoughtful gifts.

Tips for Writing an ‘Open When’ Letter to Your Mom

You have this fantastic gift idea, but It can be tricky to figure out where to get started. Here are some tips!

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1. Reflect on your relationship

Take some time to jot down what comes to mind when you think of your mom. This will make the letter more intimate and memorable.

  • Take a trip down memory lane: Remind yourself of all the sentimental, funny, and wonderful times your family shared. 
  • Think about all the things you love about your mom: Filling your letters with genuine compliments and love is a sure-fire way to bring a smile to her face.
  • Consider what makes her happy: Think through what your mom would love reading from you. Would she enjoy a heartwarming or funny story more? What is her favorite color? Choose stationary accordingly!
  • Avoid what makes her tick: If you know that there are things that irritate your mom, avoid them in your letters. The only exception would be a family joke, i.e., to tease Mom about her pet peeves. A note about this in good faith might be just the pick-me-up your mom needs.

2. Choose topics 

If you plan to gift your mom a stack of letters, you’ll need to come up with several topics. Think about the situations that your mom might find herself in where she needs a bit of extra support. 

See below: Topic Ideas for an ‘Open When’ Letter to Mom

3. Seek inspiration 

Do a bit of research when thinking through what you want to include in the letter. Imagine what the letter looks like — does it have poetry, quotes, or a prayer? There’s lots of inspiration to be found on the internet.

4. Pen to paper

It’s time to write! Collect your ideas and start writing. Think about if you would rather type or handwrite the letter. How do you want it formatted? Formal or informal? Consider adding some creative touches, such as drawings or doodles. 

5. Sign, seal, deliver 

Do a round of proofreading, and then read your letters aloud a few times to catch any additional mistakes. When you’re done, sign each letter and seal them with a kiss. Wrap them up or tie them together in a presentation your mom will appreciate. 

Topic Ideas for an ‘Open When’ Letter to Mom

Once you consider your relationship with your mom, and have a good idea of what you want to write, here are some topic ideas for ‘open when’ letters. 

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1. Open when you miss me

If you are moving far away from your mom, include an open when you miss me letter. Show her how much you love and care for her, even from far away.

2. Open when you need a smile

Write an open letter to your mom just because. You never know when she might need some words of encouragement, a pick-me-up, or just a change in the monotony of the day. 

3. Open when you’re feeling proud

If you know that you, your mom, or someone else has a milestone event coming up, describe the pride you have in a letter. This kind of letter can help your mom feel close at heart even if your distance is substantial. Make sure the tone of your letter shares in her pride and excitement. 

4. Open when you’re sick 

Give your mom a letter to open when she’s feeling under the weather. Having something from you is sure to lift her spirits. If you’re unsure of what to say for this one, check out our guide on what to say when someone is sick

5. Open on your birthday 

This letter is different from a typical birthday card because it can be gifted far in advance. There is something special about giving your mom the letter beforehand. It builds anticipation and can get her excited for her birthday. 

‘Open When’ Letter to Mom Gift or Craft Ideas

Elevate your letters by adding in a thoughtful gift. If you’re crafty, include a unique DIY gift. If not, a little bit of money can go a long way with the following ideas.

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1. Gift card

This one might sound impersonal at first thought, but there are so many ways to make it extra special. You know your mom’s absolute favorite restaurant — give the gift of her favorite meal when she needs it most. 

Another idea is to include a gift card to her favorite store, and suggest she get something that she’s been eyeing but would never buy for herself. 

2. Edible treats

If you know your mom loves to eat chocolate when she’s feeling blue, include some candy or chocolate with the letter. Some types of chocolate have more longevity than others. Dark chocolate is a good choice if she likes it — it has a shelf life of up to two years!

3. Photo keepsake

If you’re crafty, put together a scrapbook with all of your family memories. A giant poster board collage would also be a fun activity to get the whole family involved. 

4. Self-care basket

Putting together a basket of self-care items for your mom is a generous and loving gift. Some options might include bubble bath, a bath bomb, nice lotions, and candles. If the letter is for when your mom is sick, fill the basket with cold medicine, Vicks VapoRub, and local honey.

Sample ‘Open When’ Letters to Mom

We’ve created some sample letters to help you get your creative juices flowing!

Example letters for your mom’s birthday 

You waited this long to open your birthday card — you’re a hero! That takes willpower. 

Happy birthday to the best mom in the world. 

Remember that birthday party we tried to surprise you with? We should have known better! You’re the keeper of all plans. 

Well, surprise… I’ve included a gift card so that you can treat yourself to your favorite dinner tonight. 

Example for when your mom’s having a bad day

So you’re having a bad day. That’s the worst! But don’t worry, I’m right here with you in spirit. 

I’m here to tell you that you are the most loving, generous, caring person I know. I appreciate everything you’ve done for me, and I would do anything to put a smile on your face right now. 

Maybe this scrapbook will help you feel better. It’s filled with people who would be lost without you. I love you so much!

Example for when your mom’s sick or stressed out

I wanted to repay you for all of the times you’ve taken care of me when I’m ill. Imagine I’m wrapping you in a big warm hug, serving you tea with honey and lemon, and singing the song you always sang to me as a child. 

Here is a self-care basket to help you heal. It has some cold medicine, cough drops, and Mad Libs (your favorite!) to keep you entertained. 

I wish I could be there to take care of you as you’ve always done for me. 

Other ‘Open When’ Letter Ideas

If the ‘open when’ letters were a smashing success with your mom, you may be interested in gifting them to other people too. Here are some ideas:

  • ‘Open when you need me’ for a spouse 
  • ‘Open when you need some encouragement” for a friend
  • ‘Open when you ace your first test’ for your child
  • ‘Open when you’re lonely’ letter for yourself.

Most importantly, speak from the heart. If you get stuck, think back to all the reasons why you love the person to jog your memory. Don't worry about the letters being long or perfect — they’re handmade, thoughtful, and your mom will definitely be impressed.

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