CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - The Christmas shopping season doesn't officially star until next Friday morning but many merchants can't wait that long for you to spend your money on gifts.
Executives at the Hamilton Place Mall made an unexpected announcement Friday morning.
"This will be the first year that Hamilton Place Mall will open at 8pm on Thanksgiving day to allow shoppers an opportunity to shop if they want to," said marketing director Catharine Wells.
Opening the mall to Christmas shoppers on Thanksgiving is expected to reduce the traffic congestion and frustration normally seen on Black Friday; the bad and the ugly that's associated with this annual shopping tradition.
"We definitely saw that last year with the midnight opening, and it tends to be busy in pockets. But that really helps spread out that traffic and make it more about convenience for the shopper," Wells said.
When the doors open at 8pm, shoppers can expect some eye-popping deals.
"They have lots of free gifts with purchases; lots of discounts; special discounts. Some of them have already been announced and some of them, well they're being real tight-lipped about it," Wells said.
The announcement came a few hours after Walmart started marking down toys and electronics to match Black Friday deals at other major stores. Sears and K-Mart also began their weekend online deals for rewards members.