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Thanksgiving dinner with my family usually involves talk of Black Friday deals. My aunts and uncles discuss where they plan to be and how early they plan to be there. I never understood the urge to go so far out of the way just to buy things. My favorite way of spending Black Friday was always staying as far away from the crowds and consumerism as possible.

When I first learned of REI’s plans to take Black Friday outside, I felt relieved. It was like finally, after all of these years avoiding Black Friday, a company and scores of its members shared this same perspective. REI sounded a rallying cry for an army of outdoors and anti-consumerism advocates. As I write this, almost 150,000 Instagram photos are tagged with #OptOutside. This idea has support.

Minneapolis received some snow Thanksgiving morning. It wasn’t much, but enough to coat the ground in about one inch of whiteness. I felt an unmistakeable urge to make tracks.

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It was good to follow along with others as they proudly spent time beneath trees instead of parking lot lights. This is a movement that I hope builds steam. Bigger than one brand, many should follow REI’s lead and encourage consumers to avoid stores and outlet malls to spend time where it really matters: outside.

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