Get a jump on sales 

Plus, buy local at three art/craft sales.

TURNED WOOD: Shop for one-of-a-kind works like this wooden vessel by Mark Cothren at the annual Arkansas Craft Guild Christmas Showcase.
  • TURNED WOOD: Shop for one-of-a-kind works like this wooden vessel by Mark Cothren at the annual Arkansas Craft Guild Christmas Showcase.

If you've ever felt torn between watching football on Thanksgiving and poring over the 5-inch thick stack of ads that come in that day's newspaper, well, feel torn no longer.

Google “Black Friday ads” and you'll turn up a host of Web sites (www.blackfriday.info, www.black-friday.net, etc. etc.) that purport to have images of all the major chains' day-after-Thanksgiving sales weeks in advance: Best Buy, Target, Sears, Lowe's, K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Toys-R-Us, even Gander Mountain. Some even have the stores' specials broken down by category, so you can quickly find, say, all the discounted TVs or vacuum cleaners.

Highlights from Target: The Guitar Hero World Tour bundle, marked down from $100 to $60. A deal on a 26-inch LCD TV that I don't want to tell you about because they probably have like three per store and I want one. And wives of geeks, don't miss this one: A 1,366-piece Lego Star Wars Imperial Star Destroyer set — “builds a huge 15x25 starship that opens to reveal an amazingly detailed interior” — marked down from $100 to $60. My husband would pee his pajamas if he found that under the tree Christmas morning, but whether I care enough to stand in line at 5 a.m. next Friday to buy it is a whole 'nother story.

(Speaking of Target: How many times have you wished that someone would make footie pajamas for adults? TARGET HAS THEM. Sock Monkey footie pajamas, at that. Also some lame cloud pattern, but who would pick that over red Sock Monkey? Only drawback: They're sized for Amazons. If you're under 6-foot-2, they'll be bunching up at the ankles.)

(Also speaking of Target: Check out the wrapping paper in the dollar bins at the front of the store. Fantastic deal.)

Lowe's will have a $90 shop vac for $30, 5- to 6-foot Douglas firs for $20, and power tools out the wazoo. Sears will have $100 off a Dyson vacuum cleaner (actually only $50 — you can buy it for $50 off the regular price now). And for a mere $10, you can get either a 1GB Element MP3 player or My First Kenmore Water-Pumping Coffee Maker — yes, that's right, a toy coffee maker. Because you can never start bad habits too young.

As for Toys-R-Us — sorry, that one hadn't been posted as of last Sunday, so no scoops for you there.

? If throwing elbows at the big boxes isn't your thing, you'll have several opportunities in the next couple of weeks to shop for locally made artwork and crafts:

• The Arkansas Craft Guild's annual Christmas showcase is set for Dec. 5-7 at the Statehouse Convention Center. This smorgasbord of handmade gifts will include wood objects, toys, painted gourds, textiles, jewelry, art glass and just about anything else you can think of. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 5, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 6 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 7.

• Help out some starving students at UALR's annual student art sale, Dec. 4-9 in the Stella Boyle Smith Fine Arts Building.

• The Arkansas Arts Center's Museum School Sale is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 22, at the Arts Center at 9th and Commerce streets. While you're there, check out the fantastic gift shop — tons of fun gifts to be had there.





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