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Tag Archive | "Black Friday"

Opt Outside this Black Friday

These visitors enjoy an outdoor excursion at Island Lake State Recreation Area in Livingston County.

By Emma Kukuk, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

For a lot of people, the day after Thanksgiving often is devoted to laying around on the couch recovering after the big feast, watching college football all day or hunting for the best Black Friday shopping deals.

With the November holiday just days away, the time is right to consider another option, one started by Recreation Equipment, Inc. – the Kent, Washington-based retail and outdoor recreation services company known more commonly as REI.

The company’s #OptOutside campaign launched in 2015 has grown in popularity since. 

The outdoors-focused movement encourages people to spend more time outside, and highlights the benefits of immersing yourself in nature, on Black Friday and all year long.

For the fourth year in a row, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is participating alongside REI in encouraging others to join the #OptOutside movement. 

On Friday, Nov. 29, the DNR will waive the regular Recreation Passport vehicle entry fee providing access to Michigan’s 103 state parks and recreation areas, 138 state forest campgrounds, and state trailheads and boat launches. 

“For anyone who’s been itching to get outdoors or someone who might need a nudge, Black Friday is the perfect day for residents and visitors to explore Michigan’s natural resources,” Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “From quiet trails to picturesque waterfalls, breathtaking vistas and more, state parks are full of opportunities for fun and reflection.”

While no Recreation Passport is needed, all camping, permit and license fees still apply.

Relax after the holiday

These visitors enjoy an outdoor excursion at Island Lake State Recreation Area in Livingston County.

Deciding to get outside after Thanksgiving Day is about getting some fresh air in the great outdoors, spending valuable time with family and friends and, perhaps most importantly, relaxing. 

“The holiday season can be hectic,” said Maia Turek, DNR Parks and Recreation Division resource development specialist. “This is a good way to stretch your legs, unwind and appreciate the gift of plentiful, scenic outdoor spaces. Michigan has some of the most beautiful destinations and getting outside in the fall and winter creates a completely different recreational experience for all of your senses.”

No matter the season, Michigan’s public lands are treasures to be discovered.

“Give your New Year’s resolutions a head-start by starting over the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Sherry Krause, a certified personal trainer at the Grand Traverse Athletic Club in Traverse City. “After all the extra food and often sedentary visiting, the day after the big feast is a perfect time to start moving.

“An outside walk can help with depression and anxiety, set your circadian rhythm, focus your attention in a quiet way, and of course, give you a big dose of vitamin D. And the big holiday present you receive with all those things – they all promote weight loss.”

Make new traditions, explore the outdoors

Ami Van Antwerp, DNR Parks and Recreation Division communications coordinator, said opting outside is a unique opportunity to explore Michigan’s natural assets.

“Spend a day under one roof, then spend a day under the sky,” she said. “When you think of all the different ways you can enjoy these green spaces, state parks are really like one big outdoor gym with 100-plus locations.”

Once you get outside, there are plenty of activities to choose from:

Hike, run, fat-tire or mountain bike, snowshoe and more on over 13,000 miles of state-designated trails and pathways.

Watch for birds and other wildlife on acres and acres of public lands.

Snowy owls, like this young bird, often arrive in Michigan from northern areas around Thanksgiving, giving birdwatchers a thrill. This bird was photographed in Schoolcraft County.

Discover Michigan’s fascinating backstories by visiting historic sites.

Enjoy some late-season fishing (double-check to be sure your favorite boat launch is open).

Hunt in Michigan’s state parks and recreation areas, state game areas or state forest lands.

Soak in the peace and quiet of Michigan’s natural areas.

Search for a variety of hidden geocaches as part of the State Park Centennial GeoTour.

Capture some gorgeous nature photos with your camera or phone. 

See our Things to Do webpage to learn more about all the different activities you can enjoy when you #OptOutside.

Opting for the outdoors is about more than simply getting outdoors – it’s also a chance to create new traditions. 

“Thanksgiving is all about family gathering around the dinner table,” Turek said. “Adding an #OptOutside component is a simple way to introduce a new activity that can become a tradition with a healthy outcome, too, and one that can create lifelong memories.

“When you have several generations together, there’s nothing like doing something fun outside.”

#OptOutside is one way to extend the Thanksgiving experience and create some magnificent memories.

Quick tips on enjoying, and supporting, the outdoors:

Those who do head outdoors on Black Friday should remember that Michigan’s firearm deer hunting season is in full swing. Keep yourself and your family, friends and pets safe when you’re in the woods by wearing bright colors, being mindful of others outdoors, and remember that dogs at state parks must always be kept on 6-foot leashes.

Want to enjoy and support Michigan’s state parks and recreation areas year-round? The $11 Recreation Passport gives you unlimited vehicle access to state parks, boat launches, state forest campgrounds, trailheads and other attractions. Plus, each purchase helps fund needed maintenance and improvements at state and local parks.

If you’re interested in lending a hand to ensure state parks remain beautiful for future generations, there are plenty of volunteer stewardship workdays throughout the year. Volunteers help with everything from collecting native seeds to pulling invasive weeds to insect monitoring.

This year consider making the Thanksgiving weekend more memorable with an outing in Michigan’s spectacular outdoors. Take a break from holiday shopping and opt outdoors this Black Friday. You’ll likely learn more about yourself and your loved ones and maybe even create a new holiday tradition that will inspire all of you to continue for decades to come.

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What not to buy on Black Friday


From blackfriday.com

You’re busy enough on Black Friday. Don’t waste your time on these items. 

What not to buy on Black Friday

1. That super-cheap doorbuster TV or laptop: TVs and laptops often occupy Page 1 of stores’ Black Friday ads, and they bring shoppers out in droves. This year is particularly exciting, as there are plenty of 4K TVs at low prices.

But be careful. Doorbuster TVs are often off-brand, or are pared-down versions of well-known models.

Use a reputable source (like PCMag’s reviews) to judge whether a brand and model have a good reputation. And search the model number of the doorbuster item to see if it’s offered year-round. If not, it could be a cheap doorbuster. 

2. Clothing: Black Friday ads are full of tempting prices on everything from workout clothing, to pajamas, to designer fashion. However, with your time limited on Black Friday, it›s not the time to browse and attempt to find something in your size.

The better time to shop for clothes is Cyber Monday, when clothing sites will offer sitewide discounts (instead of item-specific discounts like on Black Friday). 

3. Jewelry: Black Friday ads are filled with jewelry. But expect better sales around Valentine’s Day. If you are going to snap up jewelry on Black Friday, make sure it’s not an important piece (like an engagement ring. Rock-bottom Black Friday prices may tempt you into buying something of questionable quality.

4. Holiday decorations: If you can wait to buy your Christmas decor, ignore all the Black-Friday markdowns on trees, lights and lawn decorations. That stuff will fall to even lower prices the day after Christmas.

5. Appliances and mattresses: The appliance and mattress industries will mark down their wares during their famous three-day weekend sales (Labor Day, Memorial Day, etc.). They’ll even mark them down on New Year’s Day. So no need to waste your valuable time on Black Friday trying out mattresses or looking at refrigerators.

What you should buy on Black Friday

On Black Friday, keep a lookout for these items instead.

1. Smartphones: Newest-gen phones can easily be found on Black Friday for $0 plus gift cards. For example, Target is offering the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus with $250 in Target gift cards. Walmart is throwing in $300 worth of gift cards.

2. Smart-home gadgets: Amazon and Google are locked in competition to get their voice-activated assistants into as many homes as possible. But it’s not just about the Echo vs. Google Home. Smart lights, doorbells and security systems will be on sale as well.

3. Smart wearables: Fitness bands and smartwatches will all be deeply discounted, and you’ll be able to get a deal on everything from basic models to the priciest ones. If you don’t need the latest model, consider getting previous-gen models. For example, deals on the Apple Watch Series 3 are scarce. But several retailers are discounting the Series 1. 

4. Computers and tablets: The entire spectrum of tablets and laptops will be on sale, from tablets you want to buy as stocking-stuffers, to high-end gaming laptops and PCs. Know what you want so you don’t have to spend a lot of time researching, and you can save hundreds of dollars.

5. Gaming system bundles: You won’t find many discounts on the newest systems (Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X). But you will find plenty of straight-up discounts on the PS4 and Xbox One S. Even better, look for bundles—the console plus controllers and games.

Reprinted by permission. 

BlackFriday.com is the authority on all things Black Friday, with live updates and premium content to help consumers get the most out of the biggest shopping holiday of the year. 

Posted in Home for the HolidaysComments Off on What not to buy on Black Friday

Small business Saturday and Sunday

Everywhere you turn, you hear and see ads and commercials promoting Black Friday specials at the big chain and department stores. But what about the small mom and pop shops—the small businesses—whose survival depends on you shopping there?
Charlie Owens, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, the state’s leading small-business association, is encouraging holiday shoppers to invest in their communities by shopping at small businesses the Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving.
“Black Friday is when a lot of people get up early and line up outside the giant department stores, but if you’re looking for something unique and want to support your community, then you need to shop at small businesses, too,” said Owens.
According to a 2011 report by Ernst & Young, more than 90 percent of all businesses in Michigan are registered as flow-through companies, usually sole proprietorships, partnerships and other small operations.  They account for more than half of all jobs in the state.
“Small businesses drive our economy, and if we’re going to create jobs in this state, we need a healthy small-business community,” said Owens.
“Small and independent business owners are among the most generous supporters of civic groups, local charities, youth sports, school activities and virtually every other form of community activity,” Owens said. “Shopping locally is a way for people to help their friends and neighbors and create jobs and opportunities in our communities.”
Check out the ads and specials in this week’s paper to find small businesses in our area. And check out our website at home page for some Internet-only coupons!

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