Everything is the same, yet everything is different.
With Valentine’s day around the corner, the excitement of spending a day with your significant other is something to look forward to, but Galentine’s day is not to be overlooked. In this time of uncertainty amidst a pandemic, it is nice to turn to your friends for a stress-free night of relaxation and safe fun.
In the words of the great Leslie Knope, “What’s Galentine’s Day? Oh, it’s only the best day of the year.”
Just in case there is anyone out there actually wondering what “Galentine’s Day” is- it’s a celebration of friendship that takes place on the 13th of February (the day before Valentine’s day). This holiday was made famous by the character Leslie Knope on the hit show Parks and Recreation, on the episode “Galentine’s Day” that aired in 2010 (over a decade ago- wowza). It’s a day set aside to shower some attention on your friends and platonically romanticize your buddies in a way that makes everyone walk away from the celebration feeling appreciated.
There’s something almost comforting in the idea of taking the idea of Valentine’s day and spinning it into a day dedicated to your friends and in letting-go of the stresses of being single (or the stresses of being in a relationship). The humor of spending a romantic holiday with your platonic gang is one of the best parts of this day. Are you too embarrassed to do any clichés on Valentine’s day with your significant other? Do the colors red and pink make you embarrassed? Are chocolate hearts too cheesy? Do you want to dress up for no reason? Never fear- Galentine’s day is here. Buy that giant stuffed bear for your best friend, or better yet, send her flowers just to show that you’re thinking about her. Plenty of foods and desserts that are marketed towards couples can turn into funny and themed treats for you and your group. You can’t overdo Galentine’s day; it’s physically impossible. Have you ever split a giant box of chocolates with your friends? Let me just say- it makes your whole month better.
Obviously, safety is still a main concern for Valentine’s day and Galentine’s day, and social distancing should be enforced at any in-person gatherings, as should mask wearing. If you don’t live somewhere cold, an outdoor gathering could be fun! Picnics are such a cute way of getting together with your friends for a meal- and they’re even better if you combine the concept of a picnic with a potluck. If you or your best buds are isolated due to COVID or are in quarantine for any reason, online gatherings and celebrations are a great option! Browser extensions like Netflix Party let you stream movies and shows at the same time on different devices, which would be perfect for you and your physically distant friends. There are also plenty of online-game platforms that allow for virtual game night- like Jackbox games, or even the digital version of Cards Against Humanity (a true classic).
Another fun option could be to take a virtual cooking class together, or to watch a cooking video at the same time and simultaneously try to make the same dish whilst checking up on each other through FaceTime or Zoom. Just because you’re not in the same room doesn’t mean you can’t tease your best friend’s lack of skills in the kitchen. Along the same lines, a “Galentine’s spa day” can be as simple as you and your best pals sitting around on FaceTime with face masks on- skincare isn’t an activity that you need to be in-person to enjoy together! The world of virtual communication has vastly improved over the past year, and technology has allowed us to stay connected in ways that we had never thought possible before. While computer-calls are great, sending gifts and letters through “snail mail” is also a fun and special way to stay connected with your friends if distance or quarantine is keeping you apart. The thoughtfulness of sitting down and handwriting a note is a great way to connect with your friends on Galentine’s day- as well as any other day of the year.
Make sure you are staying in contact with your friends during this time and checking up on them on days other than Galentine’s day. Mental health is hard to upkeep as it is, and after going through a year like the one we made it through, we’re certainly not in an environment that promotes happiness and serenity. The people around us help keep us going, and you can help keep them chugging ahead too. Relationships, both romantic and platonic, have certainly been put to the test over the past year, so taking a day to relax and enjoy the people you call your friends and lovers is a luxury that you can let yourself afford. Trust me, those people love you as much as you love them, and reaching out to them is going to offer some much needed serotonin to both of you.
Whether you are single or in a committed relationship, time with your friends is a commodity that you should never give up- especially during a pandemic.