Eight ways to virtually celebrate Galentine's Day

Denise O'Donoghue channels her inner Leslie Knope to help you share the love with your friends on February 13
Eight ways to virtually celebrate Galentine's Day

Galentine’s Day is less formal than more recognised days such as Women’s Christmas or International Women’s Day and we could do with some light fun and sparkle in these dark times.

From a fun skit in a popular TV show, to an annual event embraced by women internationally, Galentine’s Day is here to stay. Falling on the day before Valentine’s Day, the once-fictional event originated in Parks and Recreation when character Leslie Knope, played by the fabulous Amy Poehler, decided February 13 should be dedicated to a wonderful thing: female friendships. In a 2010 episode of the show, Knope hosted a long, boozy brunch for the ladies in her life, showered them with gifts and reconnected with her loved ones. She explained it best herself:

“Every February 13, 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. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”

Doesn’t it sound like a perfect day? It’s no surprise that the concept captured imaginations and resonated with viewers. Galentine’s Day grew from a throwaway scene to a modern tradition among women. We already had Valentine’s Day celebrating romantic love and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to highlight parental love, so it was time for platonic love to be given a platform.

While it hasn’t reached the popular heights of Valentine’s Day yet here, this year is surely the best time to embrace the concept. For the past year we have been separated from our gal pals, sisters and mothers and a reunion, albeit virtually, to catch-up, share some news and, perhaps most importantly, gossip like old times seems the perfect salve. There’s no pressure to recreate a greeting card scene or buy sickeningly sweet gifts from a dedicated aisle in the supermarket. Who needs Valentine’s Day?

Galentine’s Day is less formal than more recognised days such as Women’s Christmas or International Women’s Day and we could do with some light fun and sparkle in these dark times. We’ve been through a lot this year so we deserve to get dolled up (yes, the dress code is jeans and a nice top), mix up a cocktail in your kitchen and fire up Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or any video call platform you prefer for a few cherished hours with your closest gal pals.

Enjoy a boozy brunch together

This is probably the event that best pays tribute to the origins of the day. In Parks and Recreation, Knope hosted a waffle brunch for her nearest and dearest ladies, from her mother to her coworkers and stated: “We need to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn’t matter, but work is third.” Mix up your batter, line up some toppings and have a mimosa to hand for the boozy brunch of your dreams. It’s up to you if you want to prepare food together over video chat or start the virtual party will all the hard work done and ready to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Play games

If you’re looking for some more structure to your Galentine’s Day catch-up, why not make a customised quiz for your group of girlfriends? Zoom quizzes were all the rage in the first lockdown until we overdid it and got quiz fatigue. If you think enough time has passed to resurrect the gimmick, make your questions super personal to the people you’re meeting. Forget trivia and general knowledge, instead asked ‘which lady here had her pants split on the first day of secondary school?’

Host a cocktail class

This might sound like hen party territory but there’s a reason they’re such popular choices. Have some fun with your friends and mix up your favourite cocktails together. Haven’t had a mojito or a Manhattan since February 2020? YouTube is full of tutorials for the most popular cocktails and some are even class-style videos that you can watch together from your respective homes. Pick one that suits everyone in advance and give your guests plenty of time to pick up the ingredients needed. Share the link to the video on the day and get shaking!

Start an online book club

If you’re looking for a more laid-back get-together then a deep dive into a good book is the answer. Since Galentine’s Day is this Saturday, there’s probably not enough time to ensure everyone can finish a full book by then, but you could agree to read the first three chapters of a book and start discussing from there. It’s an excuse to meet virtually again the following week or month and go through the rest of the novel. Alternatively, for a once-off event you can choose a short story for everyone to read. Irish publications like The Stinging Fly, Banshee and The Winter Papers have a huge selection of short stories available online.

Have a movie night together with your favourite films

Whether it’s Mamma Mia!, Legally Blonde or another female-focused film, Galentine’s Day is a great excuse to rewatch our favourite flicks. Now that we’re almost a year into life at home, technology has caught up with our virtual viewing needs. Plug-ins like Teleparty allow you to synchronise your film-watching on various streaming platforms with friends from afar and it has a handy group chat element so you can react and reminisce together online. Similarly, Disney+ has Groupwatch, which might be more manageable for the less tech-savvy among us, and Disney+ has more than just princess films: classics like While You Were Sleeping, Never Been Kissed and 10 Things I Hate About You are great Galentine’s viewing options that are available there.

Take on a craft activity together

If you want to master a new skill then some group support will help you along the way. Take on a crafty challenge together and make it more interesting by agreeing to send your creations to someone in the group - no pressure! There are kits available to buy online from local art shops like Vibes & Scribes, which offers glass painting kits, canvases, watercolour sets and, if you don’t mind playing with fire, pyrography kits. You don’t need to make the same thing as everyone else, some diversity in what you create will make it more fun.

Try wine tasting online

If you miss sipping on sauvignon with your gals, a wine tasting is the next best thing. You might even learn something new. Whether you’re a wine expert or a novice taster, you can have a lot of fun comparing notes on wine and seeing how varied the response might be from different people. One accessible introduction to wine tasting is available on Instagram from Brigid O Hora (@brideys_wine_chats). Brigid started doing live wine tastings on Instagram in April and saves the videos so they can be watched at a later time. You can choose a tasting that suits the group, from red and white wines to sparkling options if you want to keep a celebratory mood on proceedings.

Have a spa day at home

Remember going to the spa with your friends? We can’t quite wrangle a massage for Galentine’s Day but some self-care can definitely recreate the spa trip vibes in your home. Light your favourite scented candles, play some soft music on Spotify, slather on a face mask and paint your nails while you fill in your friends on all the neighbourhood drama and life updates they’ve been missing out on. Put some small pieces of fruit and a glass of prosecco nearby for the full spa effect.

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