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Volun-tines, Galentines, Palentines, Valentines - Celebrate Your Way

This February 14, share your heart with friends, loved ones, and fellow humans in need.

Feb 01, 2022

Valentine’s Day is a day to love your loved ones and show them you care with cookies, homemade cards, gifts, a music playlist, or a fun date (platonic or romantic, your choice). It is a day you can wear your heart on your sleeve – literally, as in dressing up in pink, red and white covered in heart shapes – or figuratively, by telling and showing people you care. 

The media puts a lot of pressure on celebrating Valentine’s Day, especially for couples, but Valentine’s Day’s isn’t just for romantic love. In the 1700’s in England, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. There are many ways to show others you care. In the past few years, we’re seeing new ways to celebrate appreciation for loved ones…

Happy Valentine's Day!Happy Valentine's Day!

Galentine’s Day

Galentine’s Day is February 13th. Coined by Amy Pohler’s character Leslie Knope on the show Parks and Recreation, the idea of a girls-only friendship day caught on and is still being celebrated even though the show stopped filming in 2015. 

Galentine’s day started out as a fake holiday celebrating friendship – a day where you leave your significant others or crush or any idea of romance behind to spend a day hanging out with your best gal pals, no drama, just fun. 

galentine's dayGalentine's Day is on February 13th Courtesy of USA Today

Palentine’s Day

Palentine’s Day is Valentine’s Day’s non-romantic cousin and Galentine’s Day’s gender neutral twin sibling… Girls, boys, fam, frenz, whatevs, can all get together for fun and frolicking. Still no drama, but this day is gender inclusive so anyone can attend, and there are no rules on how to celebrate. (Though making a card can be fun, requires little effort, and can really brighten someone’s day!)

Palentine's DayCelebrate Palentine's Day with friends any way you'd like!Courtesy of Cristi Tohatan via Unsplash

Voluntine’s Day

Okay, we made this one up, but if you’re not into all the mushy lovey dovey stuff and have always wanted to make a difference in the world, adopt February 14th as a day for volunteering! Looking for extra inspiration? If you belong to a scout troop or volunteer organization, your good work may earn you points, volunteering hours or a badge.

volunteering wall in UtahThis sign on the wall of a building says it all. Give the gift of time and volunteer to show you care!Courtesy of Dakota Corbin via Unsplash

Here Are Some Ways You Can Celebrate

Go out 

Plan an outing with a date, friends, or family. You can go bowling, sing karaoke, go roller skating or ice skating, play your favorite sports together, go to a movie, concert, play, or sporting event.

Stay in 

Have a tea party, play board games, have a game night where you play charades and Pictionary, play card games like Magic the Gathering or poker, play video games, bake together, have a winter-themed sleepover, learn fortune telling, or just hang out and watch movies.

Show your love for planet earth.

No matter what the groundhog said on February 2, spring is almost here! Plant seedlings indoors in an empty egg carton and nurture them until it’s time to bring them outdoors. You can also join a coastal or local cleanup, or get together with friends, rubber gloves and buckets to do your own local cleanup of a park or public area.

Volunteer to help your fellow humans

There’s no better way to spread love and kindness than brightening up the day of a neighbor in need. Get together a group of friends to volunteer at a local hospice, hospital, after school program, museum, conservation club, art center, or tutoring service, just to name a few places. An adult can help you reach out by phone or email to see if a senior center or veteran’s hospital, for example, would welcome valentines delivered on February 14th. If you play an instrument, sing, or perform (magic, anyone?), many senior centers and hospitals welcome local youth to come in and perform in their common area. You can also collect donations and send care packages to thank those who serve through organizations like Operation Gratitude.

Care for your fellow non-humans

Pay a visit to an animal shelter and see what kind of help they need. Some shelters and foster locations are in dire need of donations of towels, old bedding, tennis balls, shredded paper, and unopened pet food. If you get a list of what they need, you can hold a Valentine’s Day supply drive and collect donations. Many pet shelters welcome local kids and teens to come in and help socialize their foster animals to get them used to being around humans. Call your local veterinarian or shelter if you’re not sure where to start looking. If you’re between the ages of 14 and 18 and live near a PetSmart, for example, their PurrfectPals pet adoption centers accept volunteers who come with an adult parent or guardian.

pet donation signStart a drive to help supply a pet shelter with food, toys and bedding for pets in needCourtesy of Veripet.org

Spend special time with family

When you’re thinking about the loved ones in your life, don’t forget your family! It doesn’t take much to show your appreciation. Call or even text loved ones who are far away. Offer to do a family member’s chores on valentine’s day, cook breakfast, or even make everyone dessert after dinner. Something is always better than nothing… which brings us to the final piece of Valentine’s Day advice…

family on the beach valentine's dayDon't forget your family when counting the loved ones in your life this Valentine's DayCourtesy of Tyler Nix via Unsplash

Do the very least you can do

You don’t have to go all out in order to show your appreciation for someone you care about. Sometimes big plans get so big, they never happen at all. Start small and do something instead of nothing… A thoughtful note for a family member left on the bathroom mirror or on their pillow, or on a friend’s locker or car windshield will leave a lasting impression even though it takes a moment to write. Once you’ve accomplished a small token of your affection, then you can go on to bigger gestures like writing their name in a heart with rose petals on the snow or leaving a dozen balloons on their doorstep…