Explore a state park on Friday

While some stores will already be promoting deals and opening their doors on Thanksgiving evening, other businesses have shifted their stance on Black Friday and are instead offering their employees the day off.

Some stores, like REI,  have publicized their decision in an effort to stem the tide of what many see as an unhealthy way to spend a holiday that people should spend with family and friends.

To that end, REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke announced last month that the retailer would close its doors on Black Friday. He instead urged people to spend more time with loved ones instead of joining the frantic crowds.

In response to these shifting attitudes, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and Gov. Mark Dayton recently announced that all of Minnesota’s parks and recreation areas — more than 70 in total — will offer free admission on Black Friday. In their effort to promote Minnesota’s autumn scenery, activities and family time, Smith and others hope to influence people to choose exploring the outdoors over standing in a shopping line.

We couldn’t agree more with that sentiment. As the holidays approach, we understand the importance of finding reasonable prices for gifts — but Black Friday has simply gotten out of hand.

This year, we urge everyone to relax and enjoy the holidays. If you have the time, go see what Minnesota’s outdoors has to offer. Now is the perfect time to go outside and enjoy the late autumn weather while it still lasts.