First, for the shoppers out there, Black Friday is almost like a holiday in and of itself. According to the National Retail Foundation, shoppers spent $45 billion in 2010 over Black Friday weekend. Stores have recognized that and are beginning to open even earlier than before, some at midnight on Thanksgiving. To get the most out of your shopping experience, About's Web Search guide lists the best sites to find Black Friday deals. These can get you coupons and insider deals to help you plan your shopping strategy. (You do have a strategy in mind, don't you?) One way to help you decide where to go first on your shopping excursion is to find out exactly which stores are open and when. About's Couponing guide has a list of malls throughout the U.S., along with times on when they open on Black Friday.
While the rest of the world is out amidst the shopping frenzy known as Black Friday, you can have a game-a-thon day. Board games offer a little bit more face-to-face interaction than computer or Wii games, which make them perfect for a small group. People usually have at least one old board game around, like Monopoly, Scrabble, or Trivial Pursuit, but there are a host of newer games that can be just as fun for a group. Ask your friends to bring over a few of their favorite games and make a day of it. (Here's more about hosting a board game night.)
You can take the focus off of shopping and food and just enjoy the day with a fun, Black Friday cocktail party. You can serve chic hors d'oeuvres and suggest that everyone wear their favorite little black dress or suit. Rather than serving leftovers from Thanksgiving, give everyone a selection of drinks and play classical Christmas music to get everyone in the mood for the next big holiday. Your Black Friday party could be a "light" New Year's type of celebration that carries the element of thankfulness from the day before.
If you're someone that likes giving homemade gifts, a craft party may be the perfect way to spend Black Friday. Making crafts can be your version of "shopping madness"! Get a bunch of your crafty friends together, and create some homemade Christmas decorations, recycled ornaments, or homemade gifts. A craft party is a good option if you have kids, because they can participate in your crafting day right along with you.
What's better than Thanksgiving leftovers? How about several different types of leftovers from your friends. Each family does things a little different on Turkey Day, with special dishes handed down from generation to generation. I love the variety of dishes that people make from basically the same ingredients. So why not celebrate that variety by having friends bring over leftovers from their side dishes and desserts. You can offer up your turkey and they can supply the rest. Sounds like a yummy way to connect with friends and also eat up all those leftovers.
If you're looking for a few ways to use up those leftovers, our Southern Food Guide has a lot of ideas. One of my favorite leftover recipes of all time is this turkey vegetable soup with stuffing dumplings. You use everything up from the day before, including the stuffing! Soups are a good choice after Thanksgiving because you're still eating those great flavors from the day before but in a different way. Soup makes you feel full without overindulging. (Not that any of us overindulge on Thanksgiving!)