Should You Shop on Thanksgiving?

Here's what to consider if you're deciding between going shopping and spending the holiday with friends and family.

Major Retailers Begin Black Friday Sales Thanksgiving
Tasos Katopodis/Getty ImagesKmart is just one of several major retailers opening on Thanksgiving to the dismay of worker advocates and some consumers.
By Cameron Huddleston

A lot has been made about the fact that several major retailers will be opening their doors on Thanksgiving to holiday shoppers. Many have complained that this special day should be reserved for family -- not shopping. Facebook (FB) pages have popped up encouraging people to boycott Thanksgiving Day sales. And petitions have been started on to stop stores from opening on Thursday.

Yet, more than one-third of consumers said they are certain that they will shop at Thanksgiving sales, according to a Georgetown Institute for Consumer Research survey. And a survey found that about 20 percent of consumers said that Thanksgiving sales will give people a fun family activity to do on that day and will give shoppers who have to work on Black Friday the opportunity to get great deals.

So, clearly, there are differences of opinion. If you're on the fence, though, here are several things you should consider:

You can find Thanksgiving/Black Friday-caliber deals now. Several major retailers, such as Walmart (WMT), Toys R Us and Lowe's (LOW), are already selling select items at Black Friday prices (Lowe's sale is online only). And Amazon (AMZN) has launched its Black Friday Deals Week Sale that features new deals every 10 minutes. is posting information about these early sales as they occur. Michael Brim, founder of, says that if you take advantage of these deals now, you probably can get the majority of your shopping done before Thanksgiving.

You can do your shopping from home. If you don't want to miss the sales on Thanksgiving but also don't want to leave the table halfway through your meal, you'll be able to find plenty of deals online -- even doorbuster deals that people line up outside stores to get. Brim says that most retailers offer their doorbusters both in stores and online. And if a major retailer isn't offering its biggest deals online, there's a good chance that Amazon will be selling those items or similar ones online at the same low prices.

You might have to head to a store if there's a deal you really want. Even though many retailers offer their doorbuster deals online, they typically don't announce which deals will be available in both their stores and on their Web sites before the sales begin. So if there's an item you really want at a deeply discounted price, you might not want to wait at home to see if it's available online. That means heading to the stores on Thanksgiving because Brim says the retailers that will be open Thursday will be offering their best deals of the holiday weekend on that day (we'll be sharing those deals with you next week, so check back). If you wait until Friday to do your shopping at those stores, the items you want might already be gone. Just make sure the sale item you want truly is a good bargain that's worth leaving home to buy.

More from Kiplinger:

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

How much house can I afford

Home buying 101, evaluating one of your most important financial decisions.

View Course »

How Financial Planners go Grocery Shopping

Learn to shop smart and save.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

I have worked in the retail industry for almost 20 years; I know what I am talking about. Consumers are being lead around by their noses. Do not allow retailers to trick you into thinking you have to shop on Thanksgiving to get the best deals. THIS IS A LIE. You the consumer have the power take it back. Consumers have forgotten they have ALL the power not the retailers. If no one shops on Thanksgiving Day or even before 6am Black Friday for that matter; retailers WILL extend those "doorbuster "sales or rerun it at a later time. DO NOT SHOP ON THANKSGIVING DAY.
As for those thinking some people don't mind or even want to work on the holiday, they are the super-minority. Some people feel its fun to go out shopping on the holiday with their families but please think of this as you are having fun with your family YOU ARE FORCING other people to leave theirs.

November 27 2013 at 5:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

People are free to do as they choose. Personally I think the stores being open on Thanksgiving sucks.

November 26 2013 at 2:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What has happen to Holidays that should be family time? Kroger, K-mart and the likes that are open on Thanksgiving is out of pure GREED not necessity.. If people havent gotten what they needed for the big day, then they did not need it to begin with...I think its people who dont have family that shop on holidays. Nothing better to do...Yes, I will be working thanksgiving day because of you selfish people. I would like to be home enjoying the parade on TV instead of checking out complaining customers... I do that all year long.. What\'s one day to be closed... we don\'t get paid overtime for it...we do get straight pay... I swear if Kroger ever stayed open on Christmas I would QUIT in a wink of an eye...That\'s a sacred holiday to me whether Im alone or with family.. Thanksgiving should be too...HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! you people out there be thankful for people like me who HAVE to spend their holidays bowing to your selfish whims.....

November 26 2013 at 11:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Marian's comment

You don't have to do anything you don't want to do, Marian (except, of course, bow to the wishes of the knuckle-dragging goons).

The reason you're working on Thanksgiving is because you'd rather retain your job and work on Thanksgiving than switch jobs to one that gives you Thanksgiving off. There may well be some very legitimate reasons for you to do just that, but placing blame on another for your decisions is not among them.

November 27 2013 at 10:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dweeeb.buster's comment

You are living in a fantasy world if you believe people can pick up and leave their jobs just like that. Secondly what happened to the traditional American values if you see something you think is wrong, you fix it stand and fight for it - not turn tail and run.

November 27 2013 at 5:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Pure and simple---GREED

November 26 2013 at 10:26 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to phils7's comment

What does greed have to do with shopping...
Will all fast food,,,gas stations,,,hospitals close down thanksgiving....???

November 26 2013 at 10:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pdbliz's comment

Unlike hospitals retail does not need to open their doors. Yes some not all gas stations should be open,not necessarily needs to be open. 1 full tank of gas doesn't always get families to each other.

November 27 2013 at 5:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Should You Shop on Thanksgiving?

if you are thankful for shopping!

November 26 2013 at 10:11 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply