Opt Outside

I was recently told two things by a fellow student.

  1. Thanksgiving is entirely a consumer based holiday with no other purpose.
  2. People do not get together with their families anymore on Thanksgiving.

I disagreed – Strongly. But there was no reasoning with her. And I couldn’t help but feel bad that this was her impression of Thanksgiving. She was completely hopeless that there was any value in the holiday.

In response to her first point I say, join the hundreds of people opting outside.

REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) is a company that sells outdoor gear. Last year, on both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, they closed all 149 of their stores and didn’t process any online orders. Instead of shopping, they asked people to opt outside – to go hiking, biking, skiing – your choice.

Last year over 1.4 million people participated in opt outside. This year REI is encouraging people to do the same thing. It’s not uncommon for my family to hike on holidays and to see that companies like REI are promoting holiday hiking is beyond awesome.

To her second point – I’ve worked the last three Thanksgivings with a fantastic group of people at a local restaurant. We serve over 700 individuals on Thanksgiving Day – Dozens and dozens of families. I celebrate Thanksgiving on a different day with my family and as I sit here, I can’t think of a single friend that doesn’t in some way spend Thanksgiving with family.

Maybe I’m wrong. But if you don’t have a Thanksgiving dinner to go to, join my family. And if our consumer driven society bothers you that much, I encourage you to join the hundreds opting outside this holiday season.



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