Thanksgiving is no longer the sacred territory of turkey and mashed potatoes, family dinner-table talk and football games.
This year, Black Friday - the day traditionally reserved for early bird holiday shoppers to catch door-buster deals - is beginning a day early in Elkins, the surrounding region and across the nation.
Although Black Friday has always been seen as a sign that Christmastime is right around the corner, not everyone is up for celebrating the early advent of holiday markdowns.
Terry Ware, owner and manager of Sears Hometown Store on Harrison Avenue in Elkins, says he has mixed feelings about - for the first time ever - opening his store on Thanksgiving Day. Between 8 p.m. and midnight, Sears will be offering special deals on assorted appliances, electronics and tools - nationwide deals that Ware can only offer because he's agreed to open his doors on Thursday.
"Historically, it's always been a big family day, and it still is," he said of Thanksgiving. "But I agreed to do it because I felt that I wouldn't be doing my customers justice, or a good service, by not offering them the chance at promotions that are running nationwide and the ones that are specifically at hometown stores."
Although Walmart in Elkins does business around the clock - 24 hours a day, seven days a week - 2012 is also the first year Black Friday specials will begin on Thursday.
"This is the earliest we've started," said Bob Smith, store manager. "Our first big sale is at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving evening, and there's another one at 10 p.m., and yet another one at 5 a.m. Friday morning." So, on what types of items may shoppers snatch up savings?
"Mostly electronics," Smith said. "We have all kinds of different items, but electronics are what a lot of folks are looking for."
The Elkins Kmart is staging so many Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving and the day after - three different doorbusters - that store manager Veto Moots said his head was spinning.
Kmart will be open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday; then, it will close for four hours and reopen from 8 p.m. Thursday to 3 a.m. Friday. Traditional Black Friday hours will be in effect from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday.
"Try making a schedule (for employees) around that," he chuckled. Moots suspects that many people will take advantage of Kmart's "hot prices" on TVs, in particular.
It was intended to provide exposure for small businesses during a time that consumers associate with shopping and holiday deals. Elkins ON TRAC participated in the event this year by distributing flyers to local small businesses, while explaining the Saturday event.
"All the businesses are expecting to have a good weekend," said Karen Carper, the ON TRAC promotions committee chair.
Vickie Roidt, manager of Mainline Books, said a 10 percent discount will be applied to all Melissa and Doug toys on Saturday. In addition, 2013 Calendars will be 10 percent off, she said.
Sue Pifer, owner of Elkins Sewing Center, mentioned the holiday deals at her business.
"We have several specials," she said.
A purchase of one gift card will allow buyers to get a second card with a 20 percent bonus, Pifer said. Sewing machine purchases will come with free fabric in the amount of 10 percent of the machine's value.
She said extended interest-free warranties will also be available on sewing machines up to 60 months, interest free, depending on the machine.
Many retail shopping locations in Buckhannon are preparing for increased traffic on both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.
For the first time since opening doors in Buckhannon about two years ago, Goody's will be open Thanksgiving from 8 p.m. to midnight for anyone who wishes to get an early start on their Black Friday shopping list.
Goody's will also open early at 6 a.m. Friday and stay open until 9 p.m. for additional sales. The first 25 people through the door both Friday and Saturday will receive a scratch-off ticket that will either contain a $10 coupon or a $100 gift certificate. Only one lucky customer can win the gift certificate.
"We're having extremely good buys, a lot of variety," store manager Trena Lewis said. "I'm hoping to be extremely, extremely busy. I'm hoping that people want to shop locally and keep it in their own community."
Walmart, Hibbett Sports, CVS, Sears and Rite-Aid also will be open on Thanksgiving. Some Black Friday sales actually begin as early as 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day for places such as Wal Mart.
Hibbett Sports will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thanksgiving, and will open early at 6 a.m. for Black Friday. CVS will be open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving, but will resume regular store hours on Black Friday.
Sears will be open from 8 p.m. to midnight on Thanksgiving for the first time, and will open early at 4 a.m. Black Friday. Rite-Aid opens from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving and from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Black Friday.
Lowe's will not open for Thanksgiving, but will open at 5 a.m. Black Friday.