REI

Since 2015, the outdoor gear giant REI has gone the opposite direction of most retailers on Black Friday. Instead of slashing prices and advertising sales on the biggest shopping day of the year, REI has closed its doors, shuttered its online sales, and encouraged would-be shoppers to go outside instead. Employees are still paid as if it were a work day.

For the past four years, the #OptOutside campaign has taken people from crowds and consumerism to the simple joys of nature. But this year, they're taking the idea one step further. Through more than 100 organized clean-up events, REI is asking people to "Opt to Act" for the environment.

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Courtesy of DoneGood

While Thanksgiving is meant to celebrate all we have to be grateful for, it's also the unofficial kick-off to the holiday shopping season. Last year, Americans spent about $1 trillion on gifts. What if we all used that purchasing power to support companies that reduce inequality, alleviate poverty, fight climate change, and help make the world better?

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the coming days will have spending on everyone's brains. But in an effort to promote the companies doing good for the world, DoneGood founder Cullen Schwarz created Shop for Good Sunday (which falls on December 1 this year.)

Dubbed the "Alternate Black Friday," Shop for Good Sunday is dedicated to encouraging people to shop brands that do good for people and the planet. It also serves as a reminder to support local businesses making a positive impact in their communities.

While Shop for Good Sunday technically falls on a single day, this year, participating ethical and sustainable brands are running discounts for the whole week prior.

Where you invest your dollars matters, and there's great potential to put that money to good use if you know how. Check out these six brands that sell amazing products while also making a positive impact on the world. You'll not only be getting your loved ones meaningful gifts, but also making the world a brighter place along the way.

Isn't that what the holidays are really about?

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At the office at Patagonia, a retailer that sells outdoor clothing, the outcome of the 2016 election immediately brought concerns about climate change to mind.

Fighting global warming has been built in to the company's core mission for years. So it was alarming for many higher-ups at the retailer to wake up on Nov. 9, 2016, knowing that the new president-elect, Donald Trump, has said climate change is a hoax (despite overwhelming evidence saying otherwise).

A melting glacier drips away in Austria in August 2016. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

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Thanksgiving is traditionally a day that we take to be with our families and reflect on all the good in our lives.

It's also become a starting line for a race that retailers hope we'll opt into — the race to get the best deals and throw our money their way in the service of showing our families a "nice" Christmas or other winter holiday.

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