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Christmas Shopping Starts on Thanksgiving

Many area stores won't wait until Black Friday to open

Thanksgiving has become the new Black Friday when it comes to Christmas shopping.

Die-hard shoppers can barely button up their pants again after the feast before they need to be out the door and in line for at their favorite stores.

Some stores are even opening their doors before the turkey is carved.

This year, K-Mart in Crystal Lake will be open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The store will then take a break for turkey time, and open again at 8 p.m. for more shopping.

Other area stores and malls will at least wait until after your family has time to give thanks for their blessings this year before they start selling.

Just barely though. While it used to be that many would eat turkey and mashed potatoes, sleep it off a little, and then set the alarm for early Friday morning, now you don’t even time have for a catnap.

The Huntley Outlet Center has stores opening as early as 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving. If you’re ready, Wilsons Leather, Ann Taylor Factory Store, Bass, Calvin Klein and Van Heusen will be open. Once you’ve checked out, you can head to Cinnamonster, Aeropostale and BCBG Max Azria at 10 p.m.

By the time you finish with those, the rest of the mall should be open by midnight.

“I love it,” said Delaney Kelly of Lake in the Hills. “I can’t get enough of the shopping. I like to do it all that night, get it done and then just get any extras I see before Christmas.”

While the early hours at the Huntley Mall probably won’t mean too long of lines to get into stores, you can expect to find a long line at Algonquin Commons when you arrive.

The big draw there is the gift card giveaways the mall does each year.

For the first 1,000 people, the mall is giving away a tote bag, and inside of it you’ll find a gift card ranging from $10 to $500.

But just because the tote bags won’t be handed out until 6 a.m. Friday, doesn’t mean you can escape the Thanksgiving rush.

“In the past, for the tote bag gift card giveaway, people have started to line up as early as 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving,” said Lindsay Major, assistant marketing director for the mall. “On average, most people begin lining up after 3 a.m. We do recommend arriving a bit early though because there is a good chance you might not get a tote if you arrive at 6 a.m. or later.”

Other than arriving early, Major has one more tip for early Black Friday shoppers out in the Midwest weather.

“Dress warm and wear comfy shoes,” she said.

By the time the tote bags are all given out, most of the stores at the mall should be open.

Some are opening on Thanksgiving, such as the Gap, which opens at 9 p.m., and Joseph A. Bank, which opens at 10 p.m. Others, including Express, Ulta and Justice will be open at midnight.

If you want to get as much shopping done on Thanksgiving as possible, you might want to head to some other big box retailers, such as Walmart, Toys R Us and Sears, whic will open at 8 p.m., and then Target, which opens at 9p.m.

Mary Wilson of Algonquin, who’s been Black Friday shopping for years, said she doesn’t like the new Thanksgiving hours.

“I love shopping on Black Friday, don’t get me wrong,” Wilson said. “I just like that Thanksgiving is for family, and then you sleep a little, and at 6, you could go shopping. Going all night is too much for me, and kind of takes away from Thanksgiving.

“But, since they’re open, we’ll probably go,” she laughed. “Why not?”

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