5 Things You Need To Know Friday

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Like it or loathe it, the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season is here

A number of retailers have offered holiday shopping deals for weeks — but Black Friday should still be the busiest shopping day of the Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Retail Federation. If you’re among those braving the crowds, buy electronics and skip toys.

To plan your shopping spree down to the minute, here are the store hours for major retailers. You can get some real steals. Don’t forget you can get plenty of good deals online, too. Swipe through the best retail locations in each state below.

Leftovers: Recipe and storage tips

Let’s face it: Leftovers are as much a part of Thanksgiving as the meal itself. In fact, when it comes to buying turkey, many cooks factor in how much to buy based on having enough leftovers. (And the price was right this year: A 16-pound turkey that feeds 10 people with plenty of leftovers set you back $22.38 — a 36-cent-per-pound savings compared with last year.)

That said, do yourself a favor and store your leftovers properly. If it was left out for more than two hours, toss it. Use up cooked turkey within three days or freeze it. When warming things up, if you want to go beyond tetrazzini or turkey sammies, here are three stellar recipes.

The antithesis to Black Friday: Buy Nothing Day and #OptOutside

As many consumers rush to stores for doorbusters or fill up their online shopping carts, others are marking Black Friday as a day to not shop. International “Buy Nothing Day” falls on the day after American Thanksgiving each year. Celebrated since the 1990s, the day is meant to inspire worldwide action against mass consumerism.

That’s not the only anti-shopping game in town: Outdoor retailer REI dreamed up the #OptOutside campaign in 2015, and it has taken off with gusto. REI’s stores are closed, its employees get paid and its customers are urged to, well, go outside and play. Organizations and government agencies take part, too.

It’s a great day to buy a car

Thanksgiving weekend is one of those holidays — along with Memorial Day, Labor Day and the Fourth of July — when auto dealers typically sweeten deals to draw out buyers. Why? Black Friday falls at a time of year when dealers are anxious to move out 2017 models to make way for the 2018s.

Dealers also may try to squeeze out a few more sales at the end of the month to reach quotas. If you’re not quite ready, don’t fret because there are two other good days coming up: Nov. 30, and the last week of December.

Want to see Macy’s Santa? Make an appointment

At Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street in New York, a chance to sit on Saint Nick’s lap is by appointment only this year, for the first time ever. Admission is free to Santaland Herald Square, which starts Friday and runs through Christmas Eve. Macy’s says the new arrangement is intended to cut down on wait times.

Santaland is a 13,000-square-foot North Pole village complete with live elves and a train display, plus the world-famous Santa, immortalized in the film Miracle on 34th Street. The store opened in 1902.

Click to WATCH: 5 Things You Need To Know Friday

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