It's a yearly ritual unlike any other for retail stores across the U.S. Black Friday.
Deals, deals and more deals in an attempt to grab consumers' attention at the unofficial start to the holiday season.
While Black Friday used to be just that, a Friday event, waking up those in slumber with full bellies of turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes to score earlybird doorbusters, in the most recent decade, stores have opened on Thanksgiving Day itself.
Outcry followed. An intrusion of family time.
After years of pleas, stores are listening. Minnesota-based Target will open at 7 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 27, while Best Buy, Kohl's and Walmart kicks things off at 5 a.m.
Those still needing a midnight fix after watching football all day can check out apparel store, Old Navy, which is open throughout the night beginning at midnight.
"We’re taking a completely new approach to Black Friday, giving guests more flexibility and ensuring they can plan ahead for a safe, stress-free shopping experience," said Christina Hennington, Target executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, in a press release.
Those watching network and cable shows may have seen how quickly political ads were replaced by Black Friday deal ads. Many retail stores are advertising deals for days such as Home Depot.
Dick's Sporting Goods spread out Black Friday sales over 10 days, beginning on Nov. 18 through 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 28, with all stores closed on Thanksgiving.
So, with the refocus on Black Friday, when is the best time to buy those Christmas presents? Now, or later?
"By offering a preview of our Black Friday Now deals for the entire month of November and extending our Price Match Guarantee, we’re taking the guesswork out of holiday shopping and making Target the easiest place to get the best deals," Hennington said.
Store hours won't be the only change in terms of Black Friday. Due to the COVID pandemic, instead of mad dashes to the TVs, gaming systems and more, customers may see limits to in-store capacity and orderly lines.
Walmart is allowing 20% capacity in stores. Customers will form a single, straight line to enter the store. Associates will hand out sanitized shopping carts to customers to help with social distancing, and Health Ambassadors will be placed at entrances to greet customers and remind them to put on a mask.
"Customers trust Walmart to deliver an amazing Black Friday year after year. Although this year’s event looks different, our commitment to what our customers depend on us for — the absolute best prices of the season on hot gifts from top brands — hasn’t changed," Scott McCall, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S., said in a press release. "I’m really excited that this year, when it matters most to our customers, we’re offering them more convenient and safer ways to shop Black Friday at Walmart, whether that’s from the shelf in one of our stores, ordering online and picking it up curbside or having it delivered right to their front door."
The Saturday after Thanksgiving has traditionally been promoted as Small Business Saturday. In downtown Shakopee, that has meant Holiday Fest, an open streets celebration to kick-off the holiday season.
The event, generally held on the closed streets of 1st Avenue East, Holmes Street South and Lewis Street South in downtown Shakopee, will not happen in 2020. No appearance from Santa Claus, no ice sculptures, no hot chocolate and cookie decorating.
Across the Minnesota River, the story is the similar for Hometown Holiday in Chaska. There is a 2020 reimagining of the event. Popular friends Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman will still be around for safe photo-ops.
"We are really focusing on providing COVID-friendly, safe attractions, that celebrate the holiday season and winter in Minnesota. We want to help people get out safely with their families and come downtown to shop, dine and enjoy some new sights," Jen Angell of Downtown Chaska Small Business Support, said. "We are kicking everything off with Small Business Saturday so shop local to support our wonderful downtown businesses. Virtually all downtown businesses have great deals, sales and things planned to celebrate."
In addition to keeping money in town with local owners, there will be incentives for consumers.
"It kicks off our 5for25 pledge event, in which we ask the community to pledge to support 5 downtown Chaska businesses by spending $25 in each between Black Friday and Feb. 28. You can pledge your support on our website and share your purchases on social media using the hashtags #5for25 and #downtownchaska for a chance to win several prizes," Angell said.
Participating local Chaska businesses will also have a limited edition Downtown Chaska Holiday Ornament. There are other fun attractions planned including the traditional holiday lights in both City Square Park and Firemen's Park, plus an Ice Garden coming in January with 10 plus ice sculptures to see.
In the city of Jordan, retail and small businesses are hosting shop, sip and dine events on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 27-28, all in an effort to keep local.