How REI Is Redefining The Meaning Of Black Friday For The Better

We spend our Thanksgiving Day with family and friends. We count our blessings and give thanks, rejoicing in the beautiful life we have been graced with.

Then, Black Friday happens.

We wake up at the crack of dawn and wait in a three-hour-long, drive-thru line at Starbucks to get caffeinated so we can withstand the mayhem at our favorite shopping destinations.

This is all just to get $100 off that high-definition TV we’ve had our eyes on.

We stand on our feet for hours and we duke it out in the aisles. Arguments ensue and stress is inevitable.

I’ve never been a fan of Black Friday, but I know many a shopper who lives for the glorious day. I’ve personally always found the whole idea of it to be quite fascinating.

It's fascinating that we can switch gears so quickly after spending an entire day giving thanks for what is supposed to matter the most: family, friends, love, support, a home, acts of charity and the blessing of food others may not be fortunate enough to have.

Then, we have to go and ruin it all with our ignorance.

Some of us will do anything to snag that material item at a bargain price. While I understand the importance of shopping on a budget and financial responsibility, I have to ask: Is Black Friday really worth it?

REI doesn’t seem to think so.

All 143 of its stores will be closed on Black Friday. REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke has decided to demand a nationwide paid vacation day for REI employees.

They are literally paying their employees to take the day off, and urging them to spend it outside.

How awesome is that?

Stritzke says:

For 76 years, our co-op has been dedicated to one thing and one thing only: a life outdoors. We believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth.

I couldn’t agree more.

Black Friday is the perfect time to remember life should not be about material items, but should be about finding happiness and inner peace in an environment that fosters serenity.

What better way to find peace than to spend it outside in the world, playing in Mother Nature’s playground?

Make a quick trip to the mountains, the desert or the beach. Take a hike or go on a bike ride.

Go for a run. Go camping. All these activities are totally doable, and they can be done with the entire family.

The world is yours. It's always been there for us, but some of us fail to see it.

Rid yourselves of technology for a day and break away from the lure of bargain shopping.

Get the family together and head outside. Enjoy the peace of the environment we take for granted so often.

Great beauty can be found in nature if you allow yourself to soak it all in. Give it a try.

You might be surprised by what you feel by spending just a few hours outdoors in a beautiful place, focusing on nothing but your present self and surroundings.

It's even better if it's shared with those who matter most.

Nothing is more beneficial for the soul than to live in the moment. We should all work toward seeking out opportunities that will relieve us of our stress. Being one with nature is a great start.

Don’t argue that the cost of a day trip in Mother Nature’s playground is too great a burden to bear. Cost should not come as an excuse.

If you are willing to spend the money on material “necessities” in a shopping center, you could surely take that money and put it toward gas and simple snacks for the day.

Maybe you don’t have the opportunity to spend time with family or friends. If so, take a day trip somewhere on your own if you can. Traveling alone is often the best food for the soul.

Fuel your body with peace, serenity, adventure and joy. Anything can be discovered outdoors.