Thanksgiving Outdoors

While we’re bombarded with ads and online messages to see how much we can spend and how quickly we can spend it on Black Friday, Charlie & I fall b20151106 Grand Mesaack on our own tradition of planning to stay as far from a shopping mall or even an online sale as possible. Depending on weather conditions, we may go cross-country skiing or take a hike or strap on our snowshoes and explore a trail.

We applaud companies like REI which is urging people to #OptOutside this holiday weekend. Not only are they not forcing employees to work on Thursday and Friday instead of being able to celebrate this wonderful holiday with family and friends, they are also turning their back on what has become an obsessive dedication to equating “the holidays” with spending money. They will be closed on Black Friday, and are urging people to get outside rather than roam around a shopping mall, to enjoy nature rather than vegetate in front of the big screen TV.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. In my family, we have a tradition of going around the table, saying what we are most thankful for. Guess what. Stuff we own never makes the list. Relationships, health, satisfaction with the work we do (paid or volunteer), living in a beautiful area — these are the things we’re most thankful for.

Being outside, surrounded by nature, is an ideal way to calm the mind and to become more fully aware of the wonders that surround us. Feeling thankful for my life and all the people in it comes more easily when I stop in the woods and take in the beauty surrounding me.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope you’ll take time to #OptOutdoors this weekend — and whenever you get the chance.

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