Because of the holiday, just for next week we're moving this column to Friday so I can give you a head's up on Black Friday sales, as well as any other interesting tidbits I manage to scavange while I'm out window-shopping.
I am not a Black Friday shopper. I'm too used to researching this column on quiet shopping days like Tuesdays. The crowds and mayhem do not appeal to me, though I certainly do understand the concept of looking for a good bargain.
My brother Scott, who lives in Tinley Park, a way-south suburb of Chicago, gets excited about shopping on Black Friday. He's up at the crack of dawn and in line at some store that he's scouted the ads for, ready to carry home remarkably marked-down items. His wife, Lisa, smartly stays home.
Speaking of looking for Christmas shopping bargains the day after Thanksgiving, if you plan to get up and shop on Friday, you might want to think a little sooner because the winners of the Retailer That Opens Earliest on Black Friday go to:
Sears, Walmart, Kmart -- 8 p.m. Thursday
Target and Toys R Us -- 9 p.m. Thursday
HH Gregg, Jos. A. Bank -- 10 p.m. Thursday
Old Navy, Macy's, Kohl's, Best Buy -- midnight Friday
St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights -- midnight Friday for many of the shops will open; JC Penney opens at 6 a.m. and Dillard's at 8 a.m.
Go to TheBlackFriday.com and see a complete list of big-box stores openings. I suggest clicking on the retailer logo or ads rather than going by the list on the main page; I noticed some incorrect times. This is also a great site to get a preview of the Black Friday sales fliers.
A new store, Dollar$ and (*162*)ents, has opened in the former Harold Smith Pharmacy at 1406 W. Main St., Belleville. The grand opening is today and specials include a free shopping bag to the first 250 customers. As in many large "dollar" stores, you'll find grocery basics, toys, cards and gift wrap, housewares, fashion accessories and seasonal merchandise. Check out facebook and dollarscents.biz for online deals.
Holiday Open houses and events
The Flower Basket in Collinsville -- noon to 4 p.m. today and Sunday. Giveaways, refreshments and storewide discounts.
Girls Day Out -- 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Our Lady of the Snows Shrine. Visit the Metro Mart and shop dozens of vendors. Enjoy a wine-tasting.
Dauber Pharmacy in Mascoutah -- 1 to 4 p.m. Take 25 percent off many items at this Hallmark Gold Crown store. Jewelry, candles, home decorations, stocking stuffers and gift wrap.
Circa Boutique in downtown Belleville is celebrating its eighth anniversary this week. Through today, you can stop in and pop a balloon at checkout and see what percentage you save on your purchases (10 to 30 percent) or possibly win a $50 gift card. Also, register for a free gift from Tokyo Milk. It's a great place to find unique jewelry and clothes -- my two twentysomething nieces in Chicago think it's a very cool shop.
The ninth annual Fall Indian Market at Cahokia Mounds World Heritage Site in Collinsville begins Friday. Look for new artists recruited from the prestigious Santa Fe Market to participate this year. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Friday, then 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 24 and Nov. 25 in the Interpretive Center. The market this year will include 10 artists who have never before shown their talents at the metro-east market. They will be among more than 25 Native Americans whose work includes textiles, jewelry, oil paintings, baskets, pottery, wood, bronze, antler, copper sculptures, flutes and dolls. Many different tribal affiliations will be represented, such as Santo Domingo, Iroquois, Navajo, Zuni and Muscogee.
There is no fee to attend the market, but donations are welcome for touring the center while you're there. Cahokia Mounds is at 30 Ramey St., just off Interstates 55/70 and 255 in Collinsville. Call 346-5160 or 344-9221, or visit www.cahokiamounds.org.
Getting ready for Thanksgiving
What a deal: All fall Yankee candles and potpourri are 30 percent off at Ben's in downtown Belleville. If you're thinking ahead to Christmas, rolls of wrapping paper are $1 each.
Lean on me: Picture a length of heat-resistant silicone that looks like a green laurel wreath. The Silicone Roasting Laurel from ePrepara is bendable and nests into itself so you can form it to whatever shape is needed, such as to keep a turkey off the bottom of a roasting pan, gently support a fish for steaming or corral root vegetables. It helps meat and fish brown and cook more evenly around the sides -- and it eliminates sticking. Use it as a trivet, too. You'll find this unique new kitchen gadget at World Market in Shiloh for $24.99.
Great hostess gift: Bread Warming Stone ($19.99) at Bed, Bath & Beyond in Fairview Heights. The three-piece set includes basket, warming stone and cloth. You heat the stone in the oven and it keeps bread and rolls fresh and warm. Basket measures 10 1/2 inches in diameter. I like the idea of also using the stone in other, more decorative baskets or bowls.
Need a roaster for that turkey? Target has the Bella brand electric roaster oven (18-quart) for $27. It will hold up to a 22-pound bird.