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Black Friday. What an oxymoron. Such a cheerful day paired with such a dreary color. Well the ambiance of the day does not have to match the gloominess of its name. Keep your attitude optimistic, leave your husband and kids at home and drink lots of coffee. Oh, and make sure your game plan is solid the night before!

If you are determined enough to venture out before dawn and score that microwave oven for 10% off, then here are my tips for “braving” a chaotic (and exciting) day ahead.

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Feel energized. First and foremost, don’t leave your house with a turkey-filled tummy. I know turkey and cranberry sandwiches are killer for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving, but you are going to need all of the energy you can muster to dodge the crowds.  Eat a well-balanced breakfast (or midnight snack) not containing tryptophan.  Also, be sure to pack snacks for the long road ahead and make sure your fridge is stocked with plenty of cold beverages to calm your nerves when you stumble across the finish line.

Stretch (your brain and your body). This is slightly a joke, but seriously, it never hurts to loosen up when you are planning to be on your toes for hours on end. Stretch those limbs like you are running a marathon…because essentially you are! Your body and mind will feel just as exhausted at the end of the day. It wouldn’t hurt to do a few dozen runner’s lunges to loosen up those muscles before diving into crowds to score the last Princess Sophia dress on the rack.

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Know what you want. Before the shopping frenzy begins, do your homework.  Research products you like and determine exactly what brands and models are best for you. Consumer Reports is a fantastic website offering information on the quality and effectiveness of products we can’t live without. Check it.

Price hunt.  It is always important to make sure your “deal ” is actually just that. Before the shopping day begins make sure you research products on www.Shopping.com, www.Shopsaavy.com or www.Bizrate.com to determine fair price. You may find an even better online deal than one you are targeting on Black Friday. And hey, you can stay home and shop in your pajamas!

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Be prepared. Make a list of the items you must have this Black Friday and determine where you can buy them for the best bargain price.  Purchase a local newspaper on Thursday to view deals in your area and prime times to shop your favorite stores for the best deals. Several locations offer “early bird” discounts if you shop in the wee hours of the morning. Take note and map out your route. Bring the ads with you to avoid any price disputes. And leave your expectations at home.

Go with the flow. Black Friday shopping can transform even the most kind-hearted lady into a ferocious prowling lion. Seriously, it is a jungle out there. Again, just keep your expectations low.  It’s not the end of the world if you don’t end up saving $50 on that new TV because a bloodthirsty nana just stripped it from your cart. Just chalk it up to a good story and move on to the next item on your list. Roar.

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Dress to conquer…not to impress. More accurately, dress like you are headed to hike Mt. Everest. You will be cold, then hot, you will get sneezed on, bumped into, glared at and quite possibly trampled so leave your Jimmy Choo heeled boots at home and put on your tennies and your game face.  Think warm and comfortable and throw your hair back in a ponytail. You can’t afford fly-aways in your eyes while you are racing to be first in line at the checkout.

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Shop Online. Okay. This is my most honest piece of advice. The advice I will definitely be following this year.  With a turkey and cranberry sandwich in hand and football on the tube, forget everything I said above and just shop online. Need a good place to start? Try this year’s Skinny Mom Holiday Gift Guide!