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Black Friday is nearly here
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Thanksgiving is tomorrow.

Let the shopping begin.

Retailers across North Georgia are gearing up for the annual shopping extravaganza known as Black Friday, which has also cast its shadow on "Gray Thursday," like it or not.

Then there is Small Business Saturday for holiday shoppers to turn attention toward local businesses that are catering to the Christmas crowd and asking people to shop small.

The North Georgia Premium Outlets got the usual jump on the holiday season with a number of programs.

Photos with Santa began Nov. 18 and will continue through Christmas Eve. Families can get festive photos from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Sundays.

Santa also makes a regular habit of feeding his reindeer from 2-3 p.m. and 5-6 p.m. during the week and from 3-4 p.m. on Sundays.

The mall is also offering a private event designed for children and young adults with special needs to have photos made with Santa. The event will include an environment to support sensory, physical and other developmental needs during private hours. It will be from 9-11 a.m. on Dec. 4 and guests are asked to register in advance at Eventbrite.

For those just ready to save and save some more, the outlets are more than ready to comply.

"We look forward to seeing friends and families return each year to carry out their holiday shopping traditions at North Georgia Premium Outlets. Our stores will be offering some amazing deals on top of the already incredible savings of 25 to 65 percent off we offer every day," said Shelley Korenbrot, director of marketing and business development at North Georgia Premium Outlets. "We're excited to open our doors at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and see the community carry out their Black Friday weekend traditions."

The mall will open at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving evening and remain open until 2 a.m. on Black Friday.

Stores will reopen at 6 a.m. on Nov. 25 and be open until 10 p.m. If that is not enough, the outlet mall will open at 8 a.m. on Nov. 25 and stay open until 10 p.m.

On Nov. 27 there will also be extended hours from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Following the initial, massive shopping weekend, holiday hours will apply. Stores will be open from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday up until Dec. 19 when stores remain open 10 p.m. through Dec. 23.

On Christmas Eve, the mall will be open for the last-minute, panicked shoppers from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.

There will also be extended hours on Sundays. For specific dates, visit

Walmart will operate their regular 24 hours a day, but will begin Black Friday deals at 6 p.m. on Nov. 24 (Thanksgiving).

The new Kroger Marketplace on Ga. 400 will operate during its normal shopping hours which are 6 a.m. until 1 a.m. daily.

Other holiday events at North Georgia Premium Outlets:
Pet Photos with Santa, 6-8 p.m. on Dec. 11. Register at Eventbrite.
The Salvation Army Angel Tree Program, Nov. 23-Dec. 10. Representatives will be available 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Give Love Holiday Photo Booth, noon-5 p.m. Dec. 3, 10, 17 at the Food Pavilion