(Photo Courtesy of plasticjungle.com)

By SAHAR DIKA, Arts & Entertainment Editor

The night of Thanksgiving, after we chow down on turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, pumpkin pie and just about every other food you could possibly think of, we prepare. We prepare for the biggest sales event in the history of mankind.

We slip on our most comfortable clothes and shoes and if you’re from Michigan, coats and hats are likely necessities. It is the only time that Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” is allowed to be played in anyone’s car EVER!

It is the day that I will be required to purchase massive amounts of hangers and I will witness a stampede of soccer moms attack one another outside of department stores. It is Black Friday and it’s coming to EVERY store near you.

Rumor has it that some retailers will be opening all day on Turkey Day this year to make better sales and give people more time to shop. Stores like Walmart, Sears, Banana Republic, The Gap and Kmart are all open on Thanksgiving Day, which to some is considered the new Black Friday. Even some of the most extreme shoppers consider these openings to be threatening the time people are supposed to be spending with their families.

Personally, I consider a good shopping experience intimate and relaxing. I like to take my time picking out certain items and I don’t like shopping with other people. On the other hand, there is just something about Black Friday that is so tempting, the sales. The chaos will probably get out of hand at some point but there are definitely a few ways to organize your Black Friday shopping experience and minimize the craziness.

Your first line of action should be to compare prices and stores online before you decide to go out and shop. Try to make a list of what you want to purchase in advance and weigh out your best store options. This will help minimize wait time and you can avoid jumping around from store to store clueless. It’s very tempting to spend a lot of money on Black Friday, but remember it’s a day for sales not racking up credit card bills and emptying out bank accounts.

Follow some of your favorite stores on Twitter and Facebook. Social media was created for more than just connecting with friends. Retailers are most likely going to post their best deals and their store hours in a Tweet or on Facebook. It’s an easy way of getting quick updates and saving time.

here is no need to cram all of your shopping into one day either. Black Friday sales have been known to linger for a day or two, and with stores opening on Thanksgiving Day, you have some time beforehand. Spreading out your shopping will not only save you from being totally exhausted, but it probably won’t be too bad for your wallet either.

Let’s not forget about Cyber Monday. It’s pretty much the Black Friday of Internet shopping. There’s a good chance that a lot of online sites will offer free shipping and even though it might not be in your hand the moment that you purchase it, you can avoid the long lines and hassle of Black Friday.

Shopping for friends and family can be fun, honestly, who doesn’t love to receive gifts? But don’t forget that the holidays aren’t just about sales. Sure it’s nice to show someone you love them and care for them, but always remember that you can do that without spending a dollar.

As the Grinch once said, “It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’til his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” Happy shopping everyone!