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Black Friday 2017: 10 stores offering biggest Black Friday discounts this year

Are you ready for the biggest shopping day of the year?

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: When do stores open on Thanksgiving, Black Friday?

This Black Friday on Nov. 24, retailers are bringing out some major door-buster deals.

>> Read more trending news

Personal finance site WalletHub surveyed nearly 10,000 deals from the 35 biggest U.S. retailers’ Black Friday ad scans to identify stores offering the deepest cuts in a variety of product categories, including apparel/accessories, electronics and computers/phones.

Here are the 10 stores offering the biggest discounts overall and their average discount percentage:

Kohl’s (66.3 percent)

JCPenney (66.3 percent)

Belk (62.8 percent)

Stage (60.8 percent)

Shopko (55.9 percent)

Bealls Florida (52.8 percent)

Sears (50.1 percent)

Macy’s (45.6 percent)

Fred Meyer (43. 9 percent)

Army and Air Force Exchange Service (37.3 percent)

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Macy’s ad deals on clothes, appliances and more just leaked

To find out how much of a discount other popular stores are offering this Black Friday, visit wallethub.com.

The best retailers for each product category, based on Black Friday discounts:

Apparel and accessories

  1. Shopko
  2. Stage
  3. JCPenney
  4. Sears
  5. Belk

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: What to buy, what to avoid

Computers and phones

  1. Stage
  2. Shopko
  3. JCPenney
  4. Guitar Center
  5. Dollar General

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017 at Kohl’s: Massive deals on Xbox One S, Instant Pot, toys and more

Consumer electronics

  1. Stage
  2. Belk
  3. True Value
  4. Shopko
  5. Fred Meyer

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Walmart ad deals on laptops, TVs and more just leaked

Consumer packaged goods

  1. JCPenney
  2. Bealls Florida
  3. Office Depot and OfficeMax
  4. Stage
  5. Belk

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Costco ad deals on laptops, TVs and more just leaked

Toys

  1. Stage
  2. Belk
  3. Shopko
  4. Kohl’s
  5. JCPenney

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Best Buy ad deals on laptops, TVs and more just leaked

Appliances

  1. Shopko
  2. Bealls Florida
  3. Belk
  4. Stage
  5. Fred Meyer

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Dell offers deals today; Kohl’s, JCPenney’s, other ads leaked

Furniture

  1. Fred Meyer
  2. Shopko
  3. Kohl’s
  4. BJ’s
  5. Bealls Florida

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Target reveals massive Black Friday ad, Monday preview sale

Jewelry

  1. Walmart
  2. Target
  3. Kmart
  4. Best Buy
  5. Amazon

» RELATED: Black Friday 2017: Macy’s ad deals on clothes, appliances and more just leaked

Video games

  1. Walmart
  2. Target
  3. Best Buy
  4. Fred Meyer
  5. Shopko

Read more about the report and its methodology at Wallethub.com.

Black Friday 2017: What to buy, what to avoid

On Black Friday, you’ll want to know which items to stand in line for, and which items to buy after the holiday season has passed. You can end up saving a lot of money (and time) by shopping smart as you weave your way through the crowds or shop online.What to buy on Black Friday:Home appliances  They may not be the sexiest of gifts, but small and large home appliances often are priced to sell on Black Friday. From electric mixers and coffeemakers to refrigerators and dishwashers, Bankrate.com says it’s worth checking out the deals on these items on Black Friday.Televisions (basic models): While some analysts say January, leading up to the Super Bowl, is the best time to find a television at a good price, there are still plenty of TV deals on Black Friday. Keep in mind that lower-end models tend to be priced the most competitively, making Black Friday the perfect time to pick up a television for a second bedroom or the kids’ room. If you are looking for a high-end television, it’s better to wait until after Black Friday.Mainstream laptops and tablets: Shoppers will find many basic laptop models at bargain-basement prices on Black Friday. Power users looking for good deals on high-end laptops should wait until after Black Friday.The same logic applies to tablets. There will be plenty of Black Friday doorbusters featuring basic tablet models; just don’t expect steep discounts on iPads.Gaming system bundles: Nerdwallet says gaming system bundles should receive good discounts on Black Friday. In years past, gaming system bundles have been priced up to $50 off the regular price on Black Friday. What not to buy on Black Friday:Furniture: The furniture sales cycle resets in the summer, so if you wait until Black Friday, you won’t be getting the best deals, according to The Street. And while buying outdoor furniture in winter might seem like a wise plan, retail experts say most of that merchandise has been removed from the floor to make room for holiday items by Black Friday, so you won’t find great deals on the remaining products. Toys: Unless your child is hoping for one of this year’s hottest toys, it’s actually better to wait until Cyber Monday or early December to shop for toys, according to Bankrate.com. The toy that is priced up to half-off on Black Friday may end up being priced up to 75 percent off if you wait.Winter clothes: Avoid spending your shopping money on winter clothing during Black Friday, because it generally sells at a much deeper discount soon after the holiday season ends. Workout equipment: You might think that the best time to purchase workout equipment is during Black Friday, but the biggest deals on fitness equipment actually take place right after the turn of the new year.Tools: You can still get your husband that tool set he’s been wanting for Christmas, just wait to purchase it until December, when tools and equipment sell for the largest discounts.Gift cards: There are rarely good deals on gift card purchases on Black Friday. The Street says this is because gift cards are the gift choice of procrastinators, so wait until just before Christmas to score better deals. Holiday decor: Although you might want to buy a few special ornaments or decorations for your house on Black Friday, plan ahead by purchasing next year’s décor right after Christmas, when seasonal items are sold at clearance prices.

Stove Top selling comical, super stretchy ‘Thanksgiving Dinner Pants’

Thanksgiving lovers, you’re in for a treat.

Stove Top, a popular stuffing brand by Kraft, is selling “Thanksgiving Dinner Pants” to make Thanksgiving dinner a more comfortable experience. 

>> Read more trending news

The super-stretchy pants let you eat as much as you like without the constraint of jeans, khakis or dress pants. They come in a maroon color with stuffing patterns on the pockets and waistband, and range from size small to extra large. 

Stove Top’s comical commercial suggests the pants are made from a fabric “astronauts use” and “can expand two times the original size.”

>> Related: Stuffing vs dressing: Is there really a difference?

Stove Top will be selling the festive pants until Nov. 30 for only $19.98. You can buy them on the website thanksgivingdinnerpants.com

Ten thousand dollars from the proceeds will be donated to Feeding America

Thanksgiving 2017: The best and worst times to drive and fly this Thanksgiving

Don’t let road rage or flight delays ruin your Thanksgiving.

» RELATED: Thanksgiving 2017 travel trends and tips

To ensure you make smart travel plans this November holiday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reached out to popular navigation app Waze for national historical traffic data to determine the best and worst days to be on the move around Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 23).

The AJC also incorporated Google Flights historical data, which was shared on the company blog in October. 

PRE-THANKSGIVING DAY

Best and worst times to drive

If you’re driving, the best time to hit the road is 6 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19, according to Google.

» RELATED: Police surprise drivers with Thanksgiving turkeys instead of traffic tickets

Between Sunday and up until 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, traffic will get progressively worse.

But Waze data shows 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21, is the worst time to drive for Thanksgiving, especially if you’re headed to the airport.

Using 2016 data, Waze found Tuesday navigations to airports are up by 50 percent and Wednesday navigations to airports are up by 66 percent.

» RELATED: Holiday travel with kids: Top survival tips

Best and worst times to fly

Google data indicates Friday, Nov. 17 and Wednesday, Nov. 22 will be the busiest pre-Thanksgiving airport days. Try to avoid flying on these days.

POST-THANKSGIVING DAY

Best and worst times to drive

Waze data shows the worst time to drive home after Thanksgiving will be Monday, Nov. 27 at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

But there will also be a spike of mid-day travel on Sunday, Nov. 26. Traffic will peak at 2 p.m. Sunday.

» RELATED: It’s not all about the turkey: 9 things you probably didn't know about Thanksgiving

And if you’re headed to the airport Sunday, Waze warns that navigations to airports will peak at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m Sunday., so you may want to consider booking an earlier flight.

Compared to an average November Sunday, navigations to airports on Nov. 26 will be up by 53 percent.

» RELATED: All the Black Friday sales you should be jumping on now

If you’re flying back home Monday, navigations to airports will be up by 21 percent compared to an average November Monday, according to historical Waze data.

Best and worst times to fly

Google Flights search data from the past two years indicates that Sunday, Nov. 26 is one of the busiest days of the year to fly.

Google recommends booking a flight back home on Monday, Nov. 27, instead of Sunday.

Here’s more on the worst times to drive nationally around Thanksgiving:

» RELATED: Thanksgiving 2017: Alternative ways to spend the holiday

Survey: Nearly 7 in 10 Americans say they’d give up gift-giving this holiday season

Would you give up the holiday gift-giving tradition this year if your friends and family agreed to it?

According to a new Harris Poll survey on behalf of SunTrust, 69 percent of Americans said they would.

>> Read more trending news 

The poll, conducted online within the U.S. between Oct. 3-5, includes responses from 2,185 American adults ages 18 and older, 1,986 of whom said they spend money on something related to the holidays.

» RELATED: Too much Christmas music is bad for your health, psychologists say

Forty-three percent of respondents said they feel pressured to buy gifts and spend more money than they can afford.

With the extra time and money saved by eliminating gift-giving, 60 percent of Americans said they’d spend more time with loved ones, 47 percent would save money or invest it, 37 percent would pay down debt and 25 percent said they would use the money on activities with friends and family.

» RELATED: 7 tips on doing Christmas dinner on a budget

In an effort to help reduce financial gift-giving stress this holiday season, SunTrust introduced the onUp Challenge, “a free, gamified experience that turns finances into an adventure,” the company said in a news release.

“The holidays are full of joy, celebration and an unmentioned pressure to spend,” Brian Nelson Ford, financial well-being executive at SunTrust, said. “During a time of year when financial stress is traditionally high, a little smart spending, preparation and planning can lead to financial confidence and enhance the joy of the season.”

» RELATED: Are the holidays the most miserable time of year?

Potential survey limitations

According to SunTrust, because the online survey isn’t based on a probability sample, an estimate of theoretical sampling error cannot be calculated.

Police surprise drivers with Thanksgiving turkeys instead of traffic tickets

Police officers in Billings, Montana, are getting into the holiday spirit by handing out free turkeys instead of tickets.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

According to the Billings Gazette, local businessman Steve Gountanis donated 20 turkeys to the Billings Police Department and asked for their help to distribute them to the community ahead of Thanksgiving.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Woman wins $3,000 shopping spree, donates everything to kids in need

Traffic officers spent an afternoon last week pulling people over for minor traffic offenses like broken tail lights. After making sure there were no outstanding warrants for the driver, the police officers let them off with a warning and a free turkey.

“The individuals that received the warnings and the turkeys have been very happy,” Lt. Neil Lawrence told ABC News. “Our Facebook page has received a lot of positive comments regarding it. So far, it's been a very positive thing for the community.”

>> Read more trending news 

Officers told the Billings Gazette that one driver joked he needed another traffic violation so he could get another turkey for Christmas.

10 ways to save money during the holidays

As the smell of Thanksgiving turkey wafting through the air approaches, with it comes the holiday season, one of the most fun –- and most expensive -– times of the year.

>> Read more trending news

Here are 10 tips on how to keep your holiday budget under control:

1. Make a plan

It doesn’t have to be a 20-page spreadsheet -– just take a look at your finances, set the absolute number you can spend and stick to it. Hide credit cards until after the holidays, so you aren’t tempted to use them.

2. Do some preemptive cutbacks

While having family around the dinner table is a tradition during the holidays, it’s as much if not more of a tradition to end up eating out.

Try cutting back on these trips during the holiday season to preserve your holiday spending fun. Eat out of your pantry for a week, and if you do go out, drink water instead of alcohol.

3. Cut back on your gift list

While wanting to give all the things to all the people is a sign of a kind and generous soul, it can also be very expensive very quickly.

Try writing your gift list down and prioritizing them: Who really should get a gift, and who will be just as touched by a card?

4. Be creative with your gifts

You don’t have to shop for everyone -- you can create some DIY gifts. One example is a little candy bag, tied up in a bag from a craft store. Another -- if you have photography skills -- is getting the best photo you made this year printed out and insert it into cards.

5. Get the kids to edit their lists

If there’s anyone you want to give all the presents to, it’s your kids. But that can quickly run up some big bills.

Ask your kids to focus their Christmas list to one or two items that they really want. This will help them reduce their greediness and you reduce your debt load.

6. Give back

The holidays are a good time to help teach your kids about people who aren’t able to give or get presents and what can be done to help them. Go through their unused or old toys and donate them to a shelter or gift drive.

7. Focus the decorations

Decorating your home is a fun part of the season that can involve the whole family.

Keep the decorations focused on certain areas to avoid clutter and buying lots of things you don’t need. Think about the front door, the living room and the dining room table, for starters.

8. Cut your own tree

Getting a Christmas tree is one of the highlights of the season -- and it can also be one of the bigger bills.

If you live near a wooded area that isn’t posted for trespassing, look at cutting one down yourself. Go to a cut-your-own tree farm for a fresher, cheaper tree and a fun family outing.

9. Potluck parties

If you’re hosting the holiday party, think about having it be a potluck affair. Everyone’s gift to each other can be what they bring for food. Or, if you all live near each other, you can have each course at a different house.

10. Find free holiday activities

Driving or walking around your neighborhood to see the holiday lights is a great way to get in the holiday spirit. If you live near a city or town, go see what their decorations look like.

A group outdoor ice skating adventure is another fun way to play outside.

If you want to stay in, try some DIY ornament projects.

RELATED: Check your pockets — these rare dimes are worth nearly $2 million

10 holiday activities that don't have to involve eating

While family gatherings are generally marked by an enormous amount of food, there are other things you can do instead of sitting around in carbohydrate comas.

>> Read more trending news

Here are 10 tips on throwing a holiday party that doesn’t include any food at all:

1. Give them something else to keep their hands busy

While it’s easy to stuff your face and nod during awkward conversations at a party, there are other things you can do.

Instead of snacks and drinks, put out some Rubik’s Cubes, Play-Doh or other little finger toys -- it accomplishes the same thing, and it’s a conversation starter, to boot.

2. Board and card games

With a boom in board games in recent years, there’s a game for every age, skill level, interest and time constraint, so board games are perfect for family gatherings where you have to account for both elderly relatives and young children.

Settle in for an epic round of Lord of the Rings Risk or Settlers of Catan with a close circle of friends, or if you want a shorter game, play Castle Panic or Guillotine. Monopoly and Taboo are always good go-tos.

If you need help choosing, try theboardgamefamily.com for reviews.

3. Volunteering

Giving is an important part of the holiday season, and giving time is an easy and free gift.

If you’ve got a small group, think about tasks such as raking the leaves for elderly people, who struggle to do it for themselves. Another option is have a card-making session for kids in a local pediatric ward.

4. Wreath decorating

Instead of leaving a party with discomfort from eating too much, making wreaths can have you leaving with a fun new decoration for your home.

Instead of bringing food, have everyone bring a basic wreath or garland and one packet of fun art supplies, such as mini-ornaments, glittery pipe cleaners, pine cones, fake snow, tiny figurines, strings of cranberries, etc.

5. Tea tasting

Sometimes, a warm drink is the best way to perk up a winter afternoon. Hosting a tea tasting party is one way to stave off the winter chill.

Either have each guest bring a box of their favorite seasonal tea, or get sample packs from a specialty store and test them out.

6. Surprise a friend

The holidays can be hard for some people, especially if they are going through added stress like a breakup or a job loss. Get together a group of mutual friends and come up with some things that can make their life easier, such as surprising them with a garage full of winter supplies or cooking them some meals that are freezer-ready.

7. Host a knitting party

If you have older relatives who might feel left out or isolated during parties, ask them to be the expert at a knitting party.

Engaging them and having those skills being passed between generations is a wonderful gift all by itself. Or just ask that everyone show up with their own supplies, find a how-to book and have fun figuring it out on your own.

8. Go to a performance

It’s easy to stay on the couch during the dark and cold season, but dressing up and going to watch live actors on stage is a fun and festive exercise. The late-night performances, the bright costumes and stage lights -- there’s something about being there in person that just can’t be replicated in your own living room.

Get a gang together and support your local community theater.

9. Go caroling

One of the oldest holiday traditions is singing carols to celebrate the season. You don’t have to have perfect pitch to enjoy singing to others -- you just need to enjoy it.

If you can find some like-minded friends, try calling a local care home or retirement community to see whether the residents would appreciate visits by a group of Christmas carolers.

10. Classic holiday movie night

Whether it is “A Christmas Story” or “The Muppets Christmas Carol,” this is the season to dig into the favorite holiday movies of friends and family. Get together, hang out and enjoy!

If you have a local independent cinema nearby, you could also check their showtimes to see if you can catch something on the big screen; often, they’ll offer seasonal classics that you might not have ever seen.

RELATED: 10 ways to stay calm during a chaotic holiday dinner

Thanksgiving 2017: Best ways to show gratitude

As you prepare for the holiday season, maybe you’ve been wondering about the best ways to give thanks on Thanksgiving. Well wonder no more.There are alternative ways to spend Thanksgiving that will embrace the true spirit of the holiday. From volunteering your time, to including others in your celebration and other creative ideas, there are plenty to give back and show your appreciation for others this time of year.Take a look at some of the best ways to give thanks on Thanksgiving. 1. Volunteer to help make the holiday brighter for someone less fortunateIt’s been said that giving is better than receiving, and volunteering your time on Thanksgiving Day is a good way to reap the benefits of the old adage.From soup kitchens and food pantries to churches and Meals on Wheels, serving or delivering food to less fortunate families is a great way to spend a few hours on Thanksgiving Day. The time commitment may be minimal but it’s far outweighed by the benefits. 2. Extend an invitation to someone who would welcome the companyIt’s never fun to be alone on the holidays. Whether widowed or single, orphaned or separated from family by geography, the prospect of celebrating a holiday by yourself is never fun.Consider giving someone a much-needed respite from a solo holiday by extending an invitation for lunch or dinner. It may be a small gesture, but it could mean a world of difference to the invitee! 3. Make an extra meal to share this Thanksgiving seasonThe demands of the season can put a strain on households on a tight budget. This year when you’re planning your Thanksgiving feast, make a second one to share with a family who may may not be able to provide one for themselves. By fostering the festive spirit of thankfulness through a meal, you can brighten the holidays for others. 4. Make a donationA component of thankfulness is sharing with others, and donations are an excellent way to achieve this. What’s more: it’s not just money that organizations are looking for. Donating gently used home goods and clothes to your favorite charity is just as important as cash donations. 5. Visit a nursing home or hospitalPatients in nursing homes or hospitals often face holidays alone in a situation that is trying at best. This Thanksgiving, take an hour or two and go put a smile on the faces of patients who are alone for the holiday. A kind or caring word, a sincere hug and a few quiet moments of conversation could be the difference for a patient between a lonely day and a feeling of warmth and goodwill. 6. Break out the craftsPrepare to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness among the youngest members of your family this holiday. Set aside time to teach them even the simplest of Thanksgiving crafts like Pilgrim hats, cardboard napkin rings, turkey hands and pinecone placements. The children will be thankful for the art instruction, but they’ll be even more thankful for the quality time. 7. Help guests express their thankfulnessIf you’re planning to host a crowd this holiday, allowing the guests to share their gratitude is a great way to give thanks on Thanksgiving.A great way to encourage guests to really think about what matters most to them is to offer them cards on which to write the things for which they are most thankful.Another way to get the thankful juices flowing is to create a Thanksgiving tree as a centerpiece for your holiday. Use cardboard or construction paper leaves in varying colors and encourage friends and family to take a leaf or two on which to write their thanks and wishes. By the time the day is over, the branches will be full of thanks and your guests will be encouraged to keep sharing. 8. Share your favorite memoriesAdd another level to your thankfulness by asking family and friends to share favorite holiday memories and stories. By remembering the past in a warm way and vocalizing the things that have meant the most, you and your family will find your way to a deeper state of gratitude. 9. Take all of the gratitude, and find a way to make a differenceAfter a day of sharing, use the memories and thanks as a starting point to help others. Be it family time or possessions, relationships or momentous occasions, use the items listed throughout the day to find creative ways to make a difference to others.

Too much Christmas music is bad for your health, psychologists say

The holiday season is upon us and that probably means the icicle lights are going up at your local hangouts, your neighbors are starting to set up the decor in their front yards and, of course, Christmas music is likely on a continuous loop everywhere you go — or it will be soon.

» RELATED: Debate settled: This is the right time to put up your Christmas tree

If you’re not all that excited about the last bit, you’re not alone.

In fact, according to some mental health experts, hearing Christmas music can be psychologically draining, especially for those working in retail who have to listen to holiday tunes blasting in their stores regularly. 

» RELATED: 9-year-old battling cancer to celebrate Christmas early this year

“People working in shops at Christmas have to learn how to tune it out -- tune out Christmas music -- because if they don’t, it really does make you unable to focus on anything else,” Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist in the United Kingdom, told Sky News. “You’re simply spending all your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing.”

» RELATED: 7 tips on doing Christmas dinner on a budget

Music tends to bypass rationality and go straight for our emotions, Blair said. "It might make us feel that we're trapped. It's a reminder that we have to buy presents, cater for people, organize celebrations.”

>> Read more trending news

While previous research has shown that adding Christmas music or scents to the shopping experience yields a positive experience for shoppers, it could also lead to impulse buys, due to the music’s emotional influence, Blair said.

» RELATED: Are the holidays the most miserable time of year?

The United Kingdom’s Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers also told Sky News it “ask(s) employers to consider the staff who have to listen to Christmas music all day, because playing the same songs repeatedly can become very irritating and distracting.”

» RELATED: President Trump says you'll be hearing 'Merry Christmas' a lot more this year

Increased stress during the holidays is also a major trend in the U.S., according to the American Psychiatric Association.

Some common holiday stressors could include financial demands of the season, dealing with the interpersonal dynamics of family and maintaining personal health habits, including an exercise regimen, a 2015 Healthline study on consumer health found.

» RELATED: 12 expert-approved tips to avoid holiday weight gain

Ellen Braaten, a psychology professor at Massachusetts General Hospital, shared some tips in a Harvard Medical School report on holiday stress and the brain:

“People who feel stressed during the holidays should evaluate how they spend their time, decide what they want the holidays to mean to them, and keep their expectations for the season realistic.”

“The holidays are just another time of year,” Braaten said, “certainly something to mark, but not the end-all, be-all.”

Read more about holiday stress and the brain at neuro.hms.harvard.edu.

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