Every four years, February, the shortest month in the calendar year, is gifted an extra day. As you probably know, these years are dubbed “leap years.” Many people spend their Leap Day as they would spend any other day — working or thinking about work. But, I have a couple Leap Day party ideas to make the extra day extra great.
The Earth’s orbit is slightly more than 365 days, so to close the gap, every four years we have an extra day in February to stay synced up with the Earth’s seasons. I think of the extra day as somewhat of a gift since I spend most of my time wishing I had more of it, and there are countless ways to spend Leap Day, but my only rule is that you don’t spend it like ever other day.
Although Feb. 29 is not a bank holiday, I highly suggest taking off from work and spending the day taking care of yourself. In my opinion, Leap Day is all about having time to do the things you’ve been meaning to do, whether that be spending time with friends or organizing your bookshelf, or even just finally doing your laundry. Take a look at these Leap Day party suggestions below and enjoy your day.
1. Host A Recipe Party
How many times have you bookmarked, or pinned, or "liked" one of those short cooking videos on Facebook with the intention to actually try it one day? Well, here is your one day. Pick your favorite meal or treat of the bunch, and invite your friends who have been bookmarking the same things. It's basically a potluck, but with things you've never made before. How about these diamond ring Jell-O shots from A Beautiful Mess?
2. Organize A Clothing Swap
Use Leap Day to leap into spring cleaning. If you haven’t read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, do it! It really is life changing. Once you have a pile of clothes you don’t want anymore swap with friends, or grab your BFF and donate the remaining items to places like Housing Works.
3. Watch the movie Leap Year And Chill
This is a day to relax, so gather your friends, or just bae, and watch 2010’s Leap Year starring Amy Adams. The flick currently has a whopping 21 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, which means it might be so bad it’s good.
4. Throw A Self-Care Party
Take a personal day and, well, get personal. Book a massage, get a mani/pedi, or maybe even make your tax appointment. Use this day as a day to catch up on your life and de-stress. And, if you are feeling unusually adventurous, start meditating. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine published a study review in 2014 that showed that mindfulness meditation can have effects comparable to antidepressants.
5. Go On A Hike
Try new things! After you go to that new restaurant you’ve been meaning to try, go for a stroll. It turns out that going on a calming walk literally changes the brain. This New York Times piece looks at a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It explains, “the volunteers who had strolled along the quiet, tree-lined paths showed slight but meaningful improvements in their mental health…They were not dwelling on the negative aspects of their lives as much as they had been before the walk.” So, weather permitting of course, explore your neighborhood or local hiking trail, and you might be happier for it.
6. Write Letters To Your Future Self
This leap year is a great opportunity to talk about future goals. Write a letter to your future self about where you think you’ll be this time next leap year. Store the letters safely, and the next time Feb. 29 rolls around open them up and see what came true.
This may sound insane, but it is tradition for women to propose to their partner on Leap Days. What better way to party than with a surprise proposal? I like to think that in 2016 we are above a gender normative way of proposing, but until we actually get there, maybe use this day as an excuse to take the plunge. But only if you are ready, of course!