This year, it’s literal. (So stay local and go outside!) It’s almost ironic: Thanksgiving’s roots lie in togetherness and bountiful harvests. But for any CDC-respecting environmentalist, the alarming surge of COVID-19 and the social distancing directives that come with it will likely mean staying put this year. As fabulous as candied yams and cornucopias are, they’re just not the same over Zoom. Why not make the best of it and spend your Thanksgiving and subsequent Black Friday REI-style: by opting outside. In 2015, executives at the outdoor retail monolith began to question their corporate involvement in Black Friday given that Americans generate a cool million tons of extra waste between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, REI shuttered its doors, suspended online sales, provided all 12,000-some employees with a paid day off, arranged for upwards of a thousand state and local parks to waive entrance fees on Black Friday, and partnered with 170 organizations to take to the internet and encourage would-be shoppers to get outside with their loved ones instead. Thus was born the hashtag #OptOutside. That first year, more than 1.4 million people posted the tag to social media, showcasing all manner of outdoor adventure, prompting Ad Age to […]


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