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Galentine’s Day

Greeting card holidays can be kind of irritating, especially if they feel like an obligation; hello, Grandparents Day. And so often, it’s hard to summon genuine feelings around St. Patrick’s Day or send Halloween wishes. Valentine’s Day can feel like the worst offender of manufactured sentiment and can be a bit of a pressure cooker in terms of expectations. The one “fake” holiday that’s starting to gain some momentum and ironically feels a bit more authentic is “Galentine’s Day”!

What is Galentine’s Day? Made famous by Amy Poehler’s character Leslie Knope in the TV series Parks and Recreation, this fictional holiday has gained a lot of traction in the real world ever since the initial “Galentine’s Day” episode aired in 2010. And as Leslie describes it, “It’s only the best day of the year! Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it — breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies.” This holiday revels in its own fakery, and much like “Festivus” made famous by Seinfeld, Galentine’s Day has become a campy, if-you-know-you-know holiday to pay tribute and celebrate a woman’s closest girlfriends, no matter or despite their current romantic relationship status. Here are a few ways in which you can commemorate this year’s Galentine’s Day.

While Galentine’s Day is officially Tuesday, February 13th, you’re not beholden to only celebrate on that date. If you’re really looking to spend time with your best friend, why not schedule a staycation? This is like a grown-up version of a sleepover. Take the weekend to just hang. Whether that involves ordering takeout and watching rom-coms, checking out local attractions, or shopping together, you don’t have to plan a massive girl’s trip to spend quality time with your gal pals making memories.

You may not have the time for a whole weekend with the girls, but you can still celebrate with shared activities and meals. Take an art, cooking, or exercise class together. If it’s a large enough friend group, consider booking a private session with a trainer, chef, or artist. Scheduled shared appointments at the salon or spa, get manicures together, and then go out for coffee. Brunch is always a favorite activity, whether going out or mixing up Bloody Marys at home.

If you’re not so much into a class or the typical girls’ activities, consider leaning into your friend group’s shared interests. Maybe this year it’s time to start a book club, maybe host a cookie exchange, or have a listening party of your favorite albums. Fair warning: Listening parties can turn into dance parties, so be prepared.

For those of us with friends far-flung, a virtual hang can help us reconnect and celebrate. Whether we all brew up our favorite tea or coffee or settle down with snacks to binge-watch the same show, seeing friendly faces on the screen can lift the spirits.

For more in-person fun, this year, the calendar favors Galentine’s Day as it falls on Fat Tuesday, making it the perfect opportunity to have a girls-only Madi Gras party night out. For something a bit less bacchanal but still on theme, attend a wine tasting or cook up some gumbo together. If you’re more inclined to sports, consider a Galentine’s-themed Super Bowl party; only girls are allowed!

If your family members are your best friends, organize a female family reunion with all of the women from the various generations of your family. This gives you a chance to have quality time with everyone outside of the usual holiday craziness. A great activity for this gathering is to create a cookbook with everyone bringing their favorite recipes. You can keep this collection for yourself or work with a printer to make copies for everyone who attends.

Of course, there’s nothing broken about grabbing dinner together, whether at your favorite diner or a fancy new spot. Just be sure to make reservations for large parties. If you’re looking to give back, consider volunteering together as a way of celebrating your friendships.

Sure, the 14th is all about cute cards and heart candies and romantic relationships, but there’s no reason the day(s) leading up to Valentine’s can’t be a celebration of female friendships everywhere.