I’d be just as happy eating pie for breakfast and staying in my pajamas all day on Black Friday, but getting out and enjoying some fresh air is pretty awesome too. As long as I’m not near a shopping mall, I’m good.


After 10 years in retail working Thanksgiving weekends- chasing sale targets, setting up ads and ensuring shelves are stocked and customers and employees are happy- I’m definitely savoring the time off just as much as the turkey and mashed potatoes. And I still have no desire to join in on the black Friday fray and I don’t believe I ever will.  We’ve started our own tradition, joining many others, to opt outside the day after Thanksgiving.


Last year Colorado began waiving fees to all state parks on black Friday offering even more incentive to bypass the maddeness. Last year we hiked Arthur’s Rock in the snow and were pleasantly surprised to find no fee at Lory State Park. I hope they continue to do this, as it seems more and more Americans are growing weary of the Thanksgiving retail routine.


This year we were fortunate to have family in town so we headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park (not free but we have our annual pass) and then to downtown Estes for the Catch the Glow Christmas Parade.

It was great to see so many others enjoying the park, even though it meant we weren’t able to avoid the crowds after all, but I’ll take a line to get into RMNP over a line at a store any day.

We weren’t able to go on an actual hike this year, but we took in the vistas, L got to break some ice and throw a snowball at her papa. And we were together.


After the park we met up with more family in Estes. And I admit.  We had yet to take either kid to a parade. So when my uncle suggested taking the kids to the Estes Park Catch the Glow Christmas Parade, our time had come. Now, if I finally cave and take them to Chuck E. Cheese’s their childhood will be complete.

photo credit: Steve Bailie

Lucky for us it was unseasonably warm so we bundled up and brought a thermos of hot chocolate and were perfectly comfy as we watched the floats pass by. This is a very popular event and people were seen claiming spots with lawn chairs before noon for the 5:30 pm parade. Parking would be a nightmare, but we were fortunate enough to have transportation arranged for us on this adventure. The logistics will probably keep me away in the future but I’m super glad we were able to attend this year. And I promise I’ll take them to another parade sometime.

photo credit: Steve Bailie

I’m not sure when Thanksgiving became a retail holiday, but it feels like the country is slowly backing away from mass consumerism and coming home to the idea it should be a time spent with family and friends. Or, more people are just choosing to shop from their smart phones while remaining on the couch with friends and family, in pajamas, eating pie.

photo credit: Steve Bailie