20 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Best Friends

Valentine’s Day isn't just for lovers anymore!

Posted Feb 10, 2016

High Impact Holiday?

Valentine’s Day is one of those “high impact holidays” where there is usually a “right way” and a “wrong way” to celebrate the occasion, depending on the individuals involved. Unfortunately, sometimes the stakes can be surprisingly high – although we might not know “how high” until we find out just how far short of our beloved’s mark we have fallen.

The history of the holiday seems to be similar to the origins of many holidays -- a mash-up of both pagan and religious customs and traditions. Regardless of its beginnings, contemporary cultural expectations transcend its history. For modern romantics, it’s a day of virtually ritualistic and jubilant celebrations that typically involve meaningful symbols of admiration, appreciation, adoration, or, in some cases, personal ego. Flowers, jewelry, fine dining, candlelight, and sexy lingerie are just a few of the items associated with a day designed to honor romantic relationships. However, as the upcoming crew of Millennials have shown us, celebrating intimate relationships can mean celebrating platonic friendships, as well.

The need to pair up before thirty shows up seems to have dwindled according to US Census marriage statistics. Friendships and group gatherings are highly valued by this generation and the need to find the perfect partner is not a task that is as time-sensitive as it once was. Thus, the significance of Valentine’s Day may be waning when it comes to romantic shows of fidelity and devotion. However, the value of Valentine’s Day as a time to honor your best friend or friends is apparently climbing.

There's actually an official Friendship Day, but it's seldom acknowledged beyond a Facebook post -- although the value and longevity of good friendships can often outweigh that of many romantic relationships. So, why NOT celebrate your BFFs on Valentine's Day? And if you’re in the early stages of a budding romantic relationship, you might save yourself some awkwardness by planning a Friends Only V-Day event. Who hasn’t experienced that embarrassing moment when you’re given a solid gold, heart-shaped pendant and you’re only offering a Starbucks gift card?

Creative Ways to Honor your Friends No Matter Where they Are

Here are some creative ideas for offering your best friends an extra special show of appreciation this Valentine’s Day – or any day, for that matter. Love, affection, understanding, and loyalty are the gifts that good friends provide and they certainly deserve acknowledgement every bit as much as romantic partnerships do! Give your friend a big fat kiss on the cheek and a bear hug and maybe follow that with one of the following activities, depending on your ways and means.

Far Flung Friends

When you want to do more than just simply send a card:

  1. Send flowers, of course! According to the language of flowers, you can send yellow roses, ivy, irises, or even Lily of the Incas as a symbol of your friendship.
  2. Send an arrangement of edible art – whether it’s fruit arrangements designed to mimic flowers or a box of decadent dark chocolate dipped strawberries, it’s a unique and delicious way to send some love.
  3. Send your BFF a homemade “pajama-gram” with pj’s that capitalize on one of her favorite interests. This might be pj bottoms with puppies, martinis, wine glasses, chocolates, flowers, or even Wookies! Include her all-time favorite movie snack and a DVD of a “guilty pleasure” movie. Plan a time where you both can curl up in jammies and watch the movie “together,” even if you’re thousands of miles apart and have to rely on Skype or cellphones to share the experience.
  4. Write a poem or a “love letter” to your BFF – let her know how much she means to you. Send along a copy of a favorite photo, describe what you appreciate most about her, or tell her about a favorite moment in the friendship. Nothing brings a wider smile and a case of the warm fuzzies more quickly than someone telling us how amazing we are – and knowing that they really, really meaning it!!
  5. Create a Youtube video in which you tell her how much she means to you and recount some of the best times you’ve had together over the years. You could create a speech like you were giving her the award for Most Awesome Friend Ever. Let her know just how much you love her and send her the link before you lose your courage!

A Little Cash to Spend with Nearby Friends?

  1. Make a “date night” where the two of you head out to a favorite restaurant and bring along a sentimental gift to mark the friendship celebration. 
  2. No one ever said that a “Couples’ Massage” couldn’t be a “couple of BFFs,” did they? Enjoy the luxury of a spa visit with your BFF and you won’t care how bad your hair looks after the massage or the sauna.
  3. If massage isn’t for you, do a Mani/Pedi friendship bonding event. Choose a salon that offers an inviting atmosphere and refreshments and let yourselves both be pampered the way you know your friend deserves.
  4. Create a serious “Thelma & Louise” adventure – whether you choose skydiving, a meditation retreat, private yoga lesson, hike, or a day/weekend trip to NYC, San Francisco, Seattle or some other great destination for the day. Do something with a friend that you’ve both always wanted to do, but don’t have the courage to do on your own.

Cheap (Friendship) Dates

  1. Get a group of good friends together for an “Anti-Valentine’s Date” and head out for a group dinner date.
  2. If the group’s too big for a restaurant, order in pizza, Chinese, or make grilled cheese for the crew. Party to a sappy rom/com or two or re-watch a classic college or professional ball game, whatever the majority decides.
  3. Binge on Netflix and your favorite snacks – whether your tastes run to “Bridalplasty,” veggies & dip, Perrier or Skinny Girl vodka or to something like “Real Housewives,” champagne and truffles – whatever makes the two of you giggle the hardest.
  4. Have a low budget makeover night – either at the local most awesome beauty product retailer (Sephora, Clinique, etc.) or at home. Try out hairstyles, inexpensive and a little more risky than usual nail colors, eye make-ups, whatever! A little lighthearted laughter and silliness shared between friends makes for great “remember when…” memories.
  5. Have a gender-mixed Pajama Party with your best friends. Have the same long talks and Truth or Dare moments that you enjoyed as a teen. Watch horror flicks or thrillers or Gilmore Girls, The Office, Boy Meets World, whatever. Bake cookies at midnight and scramble eggs at dawn.

Activity Dates

If you’d rather have the activities led by someone else – you know, the adultier adult that we’re always looking for – try out some of these suggestions with your Valentine’s BFF:

  1. A new work-out craze (or Kickboxing or Zumba, if you haven’t yet given them a try!)
  2. Paint & Wine classes can be fun – Pinot’s Palette, Bottle & Bottega, and Color Me Mine are just a few of the places that offer these events
  3. Couples’ Yoga – some poses require a partner and a fair amount of trust – who can you trust more than a good friend, right?
  4. Accompany your friend to her favorite work-out class as a guest, if it’s not where you normally go. Don’t work-out, yourself? Well, that’s all the more reason to show up and it certainly will show your friend how much you care!
  5. Day-trips on a Sunday can be easier in terms of traffic, but Saturdays might be better in terms of restaurants or shops that you find open. So, choose a date and go adventuring into the unknown! Make a plan to drive 2 hours North, East, South, or West and see where you end up! (With GPS and cellphones, you’ll know where you are once you arrive, but don’t spoil the fun unless there’s a potential emergency!)
  6. Go on a “Mystery Shopper” trip – wander through the stores and when your friend sees something she really likes, but can’t afford or justify to herself, purchase it on the sly and give it to her when you’re back home.

Love is Love, Right?

Even if you have the most awesome partner in the world, having a best friend is absolutely essential, too. Show that friend some love and honor the amazing relationship you have with her, too. Laughter, loyalty, and honest, unadulterated affection rank high on everyone’s list of what we need from our friends. If you’ve got someone in your life who’s always there with these qualities for you, do something special to celebrate that relationship. If she thinks you’re worth it, you know that she’s worth it, too.

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How are your adult sibling relationships working out?

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