Author | Laurie Whelden
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? I usually don’t. My husband and I have occasionally treated ourselves to a dinner or delicious chocolates on this day, but to me it just feels like a day meant more for middle school declarations of love. (And I don’t really need an excuse for that delicious chocolate).
Galentine’s Day, however, has always made perfect sense to me. Thanks to Parks and Recreation, we finally have a day on the calendar dedicated to some of the most important people in our lives. If you think about it, taking special care to celebrate friendship is something our culture has lacked for far too long. Romantic relationships tend to dominate our attention, and aside from birthdays we don’t have regular opportunities to celebrate this other kind of love. Enter Galentine’s Day - February 13.
Personally, I wouldn’t know myself without my friends’ insights and support. If you’re lucky enough to have a long, rich friendship or two, I’m sure you can relate. A great friend is someone who not only knows you best as you are now, but allows you to grow and evolve without limiting who you are becoming. I will be forever grateful to have met so many women in my life that fit this description, and I love to celebrate them, no matter the occasion.
COVID-19 has made it all the more clear how much my friendships mean to me. It’s so difficult to not know when we can safely be in the same room again! And it can be so hard to create an intimate hang sesh over Zoom.
So, as we come upon the first Galentine’s Day during a pandemic, here are some ideas on how to celebrate your friendships safely, but creatively and enthusiastically. Hopefully by next year, we’ll be together again for mimosas and waffles!
If you live in the same town as your friends, but can’t get together for safety reasons, try a cookie exchange! Everyone makes a batch of cookies, one point person picks them up, divvies out the treats, and delivers the goods around town. Then, you can have a Zoom call to taste your friends’ creations and discuss whether the SATC reboot is going to be any good (no Samantha?!).
Idea: I recently made these brownie cookies for a friend’s birthday and they were heavenly:
A little nerdy, but this might be worth considering even if you’ve never done a book club before. No matter how far away you may be from your gals, a shared book and a glass of wine is always a great combination. Why not spend your February evenings reading a juicy story you can easily text your friend about because you know they’re reading the same one?
How about something that’ll start plenty of saucy conversations?
Come as You Are
This psychological thriller is getting great reviews:
Learn about and reflect on your role in white supremacist culture alongside your closest friends:
Prior to COVID, one of my favorite evenings would have been snacks and a movie with my friends. While definitely not the same, have you tried using Netflix or Hulu Party yet? Invite your friends and watch a movie in sync, all while providing commentary with your friends along the way in the chat box. It’s like one long group text - and I recommend choosing the cheesiest movie you can find. Maybe something nostalgic from your teenage years, or a low-budget thriller with hilarious twists and turns.
Gift Card Exchange
Kind of like Secret Santa, but with gift cards! All participants can agree beforehand on a price they’re willing to spend (even $10 is a nice treat!). Use a generator to pick a secret name from your list of pals, and on Galentine’s Day send her a gift card! Bonus points if it’s for a local business. A gift card gives her an excuse to splurge for herself at The Lady Jane or Heritage Bakery - something she might normally never do!
It can be so hard to feel connected to your friends in these socially distant times. I hope these ideas have sparked some creativity in you to try something out of the ordinary to celebrate each other this Galentine’s Day. We’d love to hear any more ideas you have to share!