In 2015, REI, one of the largest outdoor retailers in the US, decided to close its doors on the day after Thanksgiving in order to promote families and friends spending time together outside, instead of being crushed together inside, shopping for Black Friday deals. Whether you think it’s a marketing ploy for the rest of the holiday shopping season or a fine example of their deep-seated mission to get people outside, #OptOutside has become much bigger than REI – it’s a major social movement.
For me, someone who sometimes spends Thanksgiving weekend with my family, sometimes with my friends and sometimes in Europe, (because, pro-tip: there are often great flight deals for outside of the US during Thanksgiving week), I didn’t need a hashtag to get me outside. I was likely out there already – preemptively burning calories during a Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot run, walking off those 3 (or 4) slices of pie the day after in a Sculpture Park, or traipsing around Paris or Venice, taking in the sights.
But for others, more tied to inside holiday traditions and/or family guilt, I think the #OptOutside movement is doing a lot of good. It’s a great way to introduce or re-introduce some healthier habits into a time of year most known for over-indulgences. And I’m all for anything that excites friends and families to get outside, to catch up and really talk with each other and move their bodies! Don’t like talking to your family for more than those few hours at the dinner table? Well then, opting outside and going for a walk or a jog is a much better choice for stress relief than that third bottle of wine.
Do you get a couple of days off from work this time of year? What are your family or friend Thanksgiving / Friendsgiving traditions? Share your opting outside stories and photos with Girl Gotta Hike! Leave a comment below, tag @girlgottahike on instagram or use the hashtag #girlgottaoptoutside on facebook and instagram. Happy hiking!