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Thanksgiving and Black Friday kick off 2017 holiday season
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Thanksgiving is tomorrow which kicks off the 2017 holiday season. It’s time to stuff the turkey, spend time with loved ones and mentally prepare for Black Friday shopping.

Those who plan to camp outside of stores late Thursday and early Friday should bundle up for the chilly morning. According to the National Weather Service, the temperature is predicted to reach down to 34 degrees Thursday night and be in the mid to high 30s in the morning; however it will continue to rise Friday with a high near 58 degrees.

With only a small chance of rain, it looks like Black Friday won’t be blackened by storm clouds.

This year the North Georgia Premium Outlets will be open from 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving until 2 a.m. Friday. The mall will reopen at 6 a.m. for Black Friday and remain open until 10 p.m.

The holiday hours and Black Friday deals will continue well into the weekend. The mall will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Nov. 25 and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 26.

Holiday hours will continue 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 27 to Dec. 2.

The mall will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Christmas Eve for those last minute shoppers to finish buying everything on their list and checking it twice.

The North Georgia Premium Outlets isn’t only offering terrific discounts and extended hours. They are also hosting Kris Kringle himself.

Santa began meeting children and taking photos Nov. 17 and will continue his meet-and-greets until Christmas Eve. He will be in the Food Pavilion posing for photos 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 24-25 and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 26. For a full list of Santa’s daily hours, please visit the North Georgia Premium Outlets website.  

Santa will also be available for private photo experiences for adults and children with special needs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Dec. 3. The event is free, but those who wish to participate are asked to register online through Eventbrite.com in order to reserve time with Santa.

Pets can meet Santa from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 10 for free pictures. Those who wish to bring their furry friends for photos are also asked to register online through Eventbrite.com.

Walmart is also participating in the early Thanksgiving Day deals beginning at 6 p.m. Nov. 23. Those who want to get a jump on the deals and avoid the Black Friday crowds can enjoy Walmart’s online deals beginning 12:01 a.m. Nov. 23.  Walmart will remain open 24 hours, however the Black Friday deals do not begin in-store until 6 p.m.

The Kroger Marketplace on Ga. 400 will be observing holiday hours on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. The store will be open 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. Nov. 23 and 24.

Publix and Marshalls will be closed for Thanksgiving. The stores will open at 7 a.m. on Black Friday. Hobby Lobby will be closed for Thanksgiving and reopen at 8 a.m. on Black Friday. Petsmart and Petco will be closed Thanksgiving. Petsmart opens at 7 a.m. Black Friday and Petco opens 9 a.m.

Of course, for those who would rather stay home eating leftover turkey sandwiches, there are plenty of online deals for Black Friday that carry into Cyber Monday.

Amazon.com is offering hundreds of daily deals not to be missed this holiday season. The 10-day discount bonanza began Nov. 17 and will continue until Cyber Monday Nov. 27. With so many constant Lightning Deals hitting the site at all hours of the day, Amazon recommends downloading the Amazon app to stay up to date.

Kohl’s, Target, Samsung, JCPenney, Carter’s and Ace Hardware will also be offering Black Friday deals on their websites.

Once the hectic whirlwind of Black Friday passes, it’s time to breathe a sigh of relief and look towards Christmas festivities.

If purchasing from big retailer chains wasn’t appealing this November, local vendors and artisans will be selling their wares at the Jingle Market in downtown Dawsonville from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 2. Shop for unique handcrafted items and stay for the Christmas parade at 5 p.m. and the tree lighting to follow.