Galentine’s Day 101 – a guide to celebrating gal pals

Emma Smith, Contributing Writer

When one mentions the month of February, thoughts of boxed chocolates, roses and Marvin Gaye’s hit song “Let’s Get It On,” may come to mind for Valentine’s Day. Though in recent years, Galentine’s Day has trended among women who celebrate their friendships and it so happens to fall on Feb. 13. The coined holiday was surprisingly created by a fictional character named Leslie Knope from NBC’s hit sitcom, “Parks and Recreation.” Galentine’s Day made its debut in an episode of the same name in season two of the sitcom and once again reappeared in season four.

To clarify the purpose of Galentine’s Day, it is an unofficial holiday that celebrates female best friends in an alternative to Valentine’s Day. Celebration and appreciation activities can range from a simple brunch gathering of best girl friends to having a fun bake-off with your best gal pals. To give you some ideas to safely celebrate Galentine’s Day, below is a list of alternate socially distanced activities and gift ideas to enjoy with your female besties.

 Simple gift ideas

Sentimental gifts can help show appreciation of best friends, something as simple as a scented bath bomb, a hot chocolate bomb or candles can really make them light up with a smile. Another simple gift idea can be a set of scrunchies; hair accessories can always come in handy. A blanket can be utilized in many ways, whether it be to cuddle up during a rainy day, used for a picnic, or to have at a Galentine’s sleepover. A blanket can be the ultimate gift that keeps giving for your bestie.

Personalized gift ideas

 If you’re looking for some more personalized gifts for your best girlfriends, there are a few more options that can be easily ordered or used for DIY. A personalized handheld wine glass is a popular option among Galentine’s Day, especially if the decal on the glass is a quote from “Parks and Recreation.”But if you opt out of the show’s references, a simple monogram of the recipient’s initials can be added instead.

Another gift reference to the origin of Galentine’s Day can be an actual card with Leslie Knope’s character wishing them a happy Galentine’s Day. These cards can be handmade via DIY or ordered from an alternate artisan site such as Etsy.com. If you’re searching for something slightly bigger and more personal, there are some options available for custom portraits of you and your girlfriend/girlfriends. This option can also be found on Etsy.com.

Since the COVID-19 virus emerged, face masks have become a mandatory factor in many public places and universities. But with crafty individuals, cloth face masks and face coverings can be personalized as matching best friend gifts. These face masks can be made together as a Galentine’s Day activity or ordered to match with a personal/sentimental connection. 

While there are multiple options for gift ideas for Galentine’s Day, there are even more opportunities for fun (and safe) activities to plan with your fellow gal-pals. Whether they be over Zoom or socially distanced in-person activities, below are some ideas for how to dive into celebrating Galentine’s Day with your best friends.

Secret Cupid

Similar to secret Santa, Secret Cupid is designed so that girlfriends can randomly pick out of a metaphorical (or real) bowl of names to gift with Galentine’s Day or friend related presents. Something as simple as a letter or any of the above-mentioned gifts would be an exchange to be included in Secret Cupid. As the Secret Cupid is assigned and has picked out gifts, the big reveal can be done in person (socially distanced of course), mailed out ahead of time, or alternatively done as a Secret Cupid party over Zoom. There, the Secret Cupids can reveal themselves as gifts are opened and enjoyed.

A Galentine’s Day setup. (Uby Yanes on Unsplash)

Pink themed tea party/brunch

As on the show that coined the Galentine’s Day idea, brunch was an activity the characters of “Parks and Recreation” continued on the few episodes that included the event. Brunch is a meal between both breakfast and lunch that consists of mimosas and baked finger foods or a dish similar to breakfast (like omelets). To make a brunch Galentine’s Day themed, participants may include pink or rose-colored drinks such as pink lemonade or rosé. This brunch would be a safe option to do over a Zoom call with your best girlfriends.

Baking at home.

Galentine’s Day bake-off

An ideal bake-off would be in-person, but with the COVID-19 virusrestrictions, this bake-off can still happen over Zoom. You and your girlfriends can wrangle up some supplies and host a proper bake-off virtually. With options such as heart treats and favorite cookies, Galentine’s Day can be baked with love. To make a reference back to “Parks and Recreation,” you and your gal-pals can whip up some heart shaped waffles in honor of the fictional creator, Leslie Knope. There are heart-shaped waffle makers available at Walmart.com or in store.

Happy woman watching TV and eats popcorn at night. (JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash)

Movie marathon OR Parks and Recreation marathon

While most typical movie/television marathons are hosted in-person, there is another option for a safer and virtual viewing during the pandemic. Kastapp.co is an app created for an optimal viewing for all your lady friends. The app is free and allows friends to gather and watch on a single screen the movie or television show of their choosing. Anything ranging from a hopeless romantic film or anti-love film, or even the Galentine’s Day episode on “Parks and Recreation,” can be watched, enjoyed, and discussed with the Kast app.

Game night. (Rumman Amin on Unsplash)

Virtual game night

Another virtual engaging activity can be a game night hosted with options such as Jackbox, Among Us, or Cards Against Humanity. You can create jokes, kill imposters and make memories with your gal pals through a Galentine’s Day virtual game night. You can also see the reactions of your friends through a Zoom call as you win black cards or are framed as the imposter.

Wrightsville Beach at sunset. (Brendan Steeves)

Beach Day at Wrightsville

Though Galentine’s Day is in February, that does not rule out a casual beach day at Wrightsville. Gal-pals can break out some beach towels or chairs and hang out in a socially distanced circle with masks. You and your friends can look for seashells, build sand towers, socialize and catch up with each other, or even bring your dogs for a really good time. A beach day is always possible, regardless of the chilly weather. Spending a beach day with your gal-pals will surely make memories for more Galentine’s Days to come.

Paintbrushes and paint. (Sarah Brown Unsplash)

DIY activity

Whether it be making friendship bracelets or a wine and sip painting, DIY activities are more enjoyable when done with your best friends. You and your girlfriends can collectively pick out a DIY craft or different individual ones to do over Zoom or a socially distanced circle outside. At theWoobles.com, you can find different kinds of beginner and intermediate little animals to crochet. There are also options of painting by number kits available on Etsy.com that allow you to recreate images of personalized pictures with gal-pals or a favorite pet. 

With Galentine’s Day approaching and COVID-19 virus restrictions limiting gatherings, there are still multiple fun and engaging ways to spend time with your closest gal-pals. Ideas for Galentine’s Day can emerge from “Parks and Recreation” or of your own creations. Whether it be a Zoom brunch or Secret Cupid, you and your best friends can still have safe options to celebrate Galentine’s Day.