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What is #OptOutside and what does it have to do with Black Friday?

Luci #OptOutside #HappierPlace Florida

No matter if you have wondered what #OptOutside is, if you have never even heard of it, or know all about it… we strongly encourage you to participate this Black Friday. So then what is #OptOutside?

The #OptOutside movement was started by the outdoor retail company REI in 2015. The basic meaning of #OptOutside is: Go outdoors on Black Friday instead of shopping. Of course, Black Friday is the day after the American Thanksgiving (third Thursday in November) that has grown into an insanely popular and discount-sales-driven day of shopping.

What Is #OptOutside All About?

While #OptOutside is a very successful and award-winning ad campaign, we want to emphasize the altruistic aspects of the initiative that help make the world a happier place… one inspired person at a time.

Every Black Friday since 2015, REI closes all of its 150+ brick-and-mortar stores, does not process any online payments and gives the 12,000 employees a paid day-off to spend it out in nature. All this on one of the biggest shopping days of the year!

From the get-go, they were joined by other companies and not-for-profit organizations that offered the same to their employees or featured free services or waived entry fees for outdoor excursions. Besides REI, many other companies, organizations and individuals promote the #OptOutside hashtag on social media when sharing photos and videos – especially on Instagram and Twitter.

Since our own goal is to help people get happier by having more fun outdoors, we wholeheartedly salute and thank REI for launching this effective initiative to get people outside.

We’d like to acknowledge what came before and was probably an inspiration: Buy Nothing Day. This social art piece, protest against consumerism, and global “holiday” also takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Buy Nothing Day was launched by Vancouver artist Ted Dave in 1992 and promoted into global awareness by AdBuster magazine.

Scott fly-fishing for what is #optoutside

Ideas for How to Opt Outside on Black Friday

The simplest thing: just walk out of your door. Walking around your neighborhood may not be the great outdoors; but you might be surprised by the beauty or inspiration you can find right outside your home just by ignoring your device and looking around.

Go for a stroll in the nearest city park… or to try something new: check out the city park that’s furthest from your place.

Before winter takes over, “get in one more” of… whatever outdoor fun you wish you had done more all summer, e.g., bike, roller blade, skateboard, hike, paddle board, run, picnic… or whatever makes you happier outside. You might have to pump up those tires again or dress a bit warmer, but you’ll be happier for having “done it” one more time!

Many organizations are holding special events to encourage you to go outside. Check out this list of US MeetUps hosting outdoor activities on Black Friday… then enter your own zip code to find a local OptOutside MeetUp or organize one yourself.

A lot of State Parks offer free admission this Friday, e.g. Delaware and Arizona. Find a park near you on the America’s State Park website.

Choose to not go shopping on Black Friday. If you live in America, you know you can shop every single day of the year. Just opt out of shopping for this one day and opt in to having some fun outdoors!

For people who are not very physically mobile: How about asking a friend or a relative to take you for a scenic drive?

Can’t leave the home at all? Then at least for a little while, sit by a window and look outside… to watch the birds, the clouds or anything else that’s moving out there.

If you need anymore convincing to participate in #OptOutside, you might want to read this: Inviting Happiness and Adventure: Yes, let’s!

Whiskey dog on trail in Lory State Park for #optoutside

#OptOutside and #HappierPlace

Following the example of REI, everyone at Happier Place gets #OptOutside Friday off to have fun outside instead of buying, selling or staring at our devices. So while our website will be active, no human will process any purchases or respond to comments or messages until the next day (aka So-Much-To-Do Saturday).

Full disclosure: we will be offering a special coupon code for Cyber Monday (valid only on 11/26/18) which will save you 18% on your entire order: CYBER18. Of course, we also donate 5% of every sale (not just of profit!) to the Environmental Defense Fund. So there are incentives to purchase from Happier Place – on any day but the Friday after Thanksgiving.

We would love to see your photos of the fun you have in nature. If you use our hashtag #HappierPlace, we might even feature your photo on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and on our website after Friday.
You don’t share photos online? Then TELL us about how you opted outside in the comments below.

Let’s keep inspiring each other and make the world a happier place. 


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fly-fishing scott on optoutside friday in florida

33 thoughts on “What is #OptOutside and what does it have to do with Black Friday?

  1. I love this campaign! I think some companies must be getting wind of it because a lot of them are now saving the biggest sales for Cyber Monday instead 🙂

  2. I love the #optoutside movement. Black Friday is super overrated in my opinion.

  3. This is such a great campaign. thanks for introducing this to us.. i love the fact of enjoying outdoors instead of shopping.. i have successfully not shopped this year.

  4. I totally love this Idea, though i went shopping earlier’ but my purchase are only product empties that I’d finished’ .. I just took advantage of the sale and only got 3 items. I feel proud of myself for not buying anything that is not necessary.

  5. I really love this that rei is doing. The Black Friday Maddness has gotten out of hand. This year it’s before thanksgiving day I saw sales!

  6. We thankfully don’t have the Black Friday madness in India yet. It is great to note that there are organisations that are trying to do something positive on this massive sale day. Great concept.

    1. Ohhh, you just wait… 😉 I just heard it’s already made it’s way to England and other countries that don’t celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday. But hopefully it’s never anywhere as mad as it is here in the USA.

  7. I’m all for not shopping on Black Friday and going outside instead. What a wonderful initiative to share.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Rose. Nice to read you appreciate us sharing the initiative.

  8. That is so much better than shopping indeed on a Black Friday. That will make a different impression about it. I hope many people will participate on this.

    1. Glad you think so, too!

  9. Never heard of this but such a great concept! Going outside instead of shopping – Definitely a great idea!

    1. Love introducing someone to new (good) ideas. And yeah, the general concept is pretty universal and can be applied any day.

  10. This is such a nice idea but honestly, I don’t have any problem in making time with my family because we always make sure that we spend time to each other everyday.

    1. That’s so great you spend a lot of time together as a family. Hopefully, you also spend some of that time outdoors 🙂

  11. I honestly hadn’t heard of this until now! This is really awesome though I love it! Great post and thanks for sharing.

    Really though, I’m glad you shared. I hadn’t heard of REI either, but they’ve got some good stuff. What they decided to do really fits their overall brand image and message too, so it was a great call for them.

    Crazy too though on one of the busiest days they did that.
    However Im sure itll pay off

    Nicholas Alexander Adams
    https://true-arizona.org

    1. So cool to draw your attention to something good you didn’t know about. Yeah, REI is quite cool and their #OptOutside campaign is definitely something great for people – but it also doesn’t hurt their sales, I suspect. After all, it’s an award-winning ad campaign and probably brings them a lot of sales throughout the year and especially on the days around the one day they’re closed. But again, we admire the message they’re sending and the fact that they’re consistent and actually close all the stores and website and give all employees the day off. This isn’t pretending, this is real inspiration.
      Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Nicholas.
      xx Luci

  12. I really respect REI and how they run their company. I haven’t heard of #optoutside before. It’s such a great idea!

    1. Glad we could introduce you to the concept of #OptOutside. REI is very inspiring in so many ways.

  13. This sounds like a nice and fun ideas to do with my husband. Spending time like walking around in that city is something that we no longer do together and I think this is the best time for us to do it again.

    1. Oh, I very much hope that you and your husband will go walking around together again more. We consciously started a few years ago to spend more times outdoors together (that’s where the whole idea of launching this website came from) – and not only are we much happier today, we also don’t need to remind ourselves much to go outside together. It’s become part of life again.

  14. What a great concept. I don’t need much persuasion when it comes to enjoying the outdoors. We always make time as a family to get outside and explore. Certainly beats spending a fortune on Black Friday! 🙂

    1. That’s so wonderful that you and your family make a lot of time to get outside and explore. I’m so grateful that my family did that when I was a kid. They did the groundwork for me to live a happier, healthier life. Sounds like you’re doing the same!
      xx Luci

  15. Love this! I have never been a fan of Black Friday. It always seemed so insane to me. Let’s give thanks one day and then beat each other up to get products the next day. Love the optout idea!

    1. Thank you for your comment, Ashley! I’ve never gotten excited about Black Friday myself. But I never thought of the contrast between Thanksgiving and Black Friday the way you describe it so perfectly either! 😀

  16. lovely ideas to recharge and feel different and happier! totally worth Black Friday deals

    1. Glad you like the idea. Definitely makes me happier than shopping a good deal 🙂

  17. Looks so pretty nice adventure things to do and a happy together with your fur baby.

    1. Thanks. Always happier when Whiskey Dog is around.

  18. I totally love this idea, but I never heard of it. Going outdoors on Black Friday instead of shopping is exactly what this world needs. Plus… with all the online shopping going on and Cyber Mondays, we literally have no excuse!

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Jeannette! Thrilled to have reached someone that didn’t know about this yet and likes it as much as I do. I also think that with us being able to shop every single day, it’s not much of a “sacrifice” to not shop on one of those days – and it’s really beautiful to consciously spend some time outdoors on that day. Hope you get a chance to #OptOutside!
      xx Luci

  19. This is such a great campaign! I love the meaning behind it

    1. That’s great! Thank you for your comment, Adriana!

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