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Skip The Crowds, Shop Off Hours On Thanksgiving Weekend

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One of the busiest shopping times of the year comes in the hours and days after Thanksgiving, but while Black Friday is known for having some doorbuster deals, consider turning off that alarm clock and snoozing in by getting just as good—if not better—shopping deals in the off hours during the Thanksgiving weekend. Of course, what deals you're looking to find will affect where and when you go shopping, so in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, do your due diligence and monitor deals leading up to the long holiday weekend.

First Thing on Black Friday

Standing in line and participating in the frenzy of Black Friday shopping has become a tradition of sorts. But is it really worth it?

Pros: Get your shopping done in one fell swoop.

With some chain stores offering fabulous deals in the wee hours of the morning, you can make your rounds, nab everything on your shopping list, and get home early enough to take a nice long nap.

Buy the must-have items of the season before they're off the shelves. Want the hottest toys of the season—whether it's Star Wars toys or Minions? You can grab them online too, of course, but chances are you'll get the best deal right off the shelf rather than marked up like crazy online with people trying to make a profit.

Cons: You might not be the first in line.

Some of the biggest chains, like Best Buy, have some of the biggest deals. But with those doorbusters comes a plethora of people who also want a stellar deal, and that sometimes means people are camping out for days, if not weeks! If you're not willing to take off work for a deal, then you might just find yourself waiting in one massive line or crowd.

With the frenzy and lack of sleep, comes frustration. With a huge crowd and everyone running through the stores, it can be one of the most stressful parts of your day, rather than fun, which shopping should be.

Best deals may actually come later. Some studies have shown that, in recent years, the best deals aren't actually on Black Friday. Rather they come later in December when Christmas draws closer and stores are trying to move products off shelves.

Sale Signs

During the Off Hours

Nowadays, the off hours encompass a lot, from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday... and even beyond. While there will be shoppers no matter what the time of the holiday weekend, there won't be quite as many rushing the door at other points. But will you miss out on the biggest deals?

Pros: Walk off the turkey dinner on Thanksgiving night.

After Thanksgiving with family, head to the stores together to get a head start on shopping. Many stores start their deals early because they know many have the day off already.

Still get a deal, while being able to sleep in. These days, there are deals at all times of day—and not just online. Save yourself some frustration with the crowds and get some shut eye. Then, when you're ready to shop, head out to the stores. Many of the big stores actually rotate when they have sales to keep a steady flow of customers. So really, you might get an even better deal, depending on what you're shopping for, if you research and go at the right time during the 'off hours.'

Participate in Small Business Saturday. Small businesses an be brick and mortar stores, too, but they often save their deals for the Saturday of the Thanksgiving weekend. Support your neighbors and take a stroll around your block while shopping.

Cons: Many big retailers aren't open on Thanksgiving.

In recent years, there has been some public criticism of big stores open on Thanksgiving, a day that's supposed to be about spending time with family. Some retailers have reacted by closing all day Thursday, meaning the crowds are pushed back to Black Friday morning.

Doorbuster deals may only be available Black Friday morning. Some of the deals you may want may be exclusive to Black Friday, and that morning—or day only.

All stores do their shopping deals and promotions differently. In the weeks leading up to the big holiday weekend, create your holiday shopping list and then research all the different deals. What you want to buy will affect where you shop, and in turn, it'll impact when you can get the best deals.

Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not blogging about food, she's working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products..

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