“Americans’ shrinking holiday budgets” have sent stores into "a promotional panic,” said Sandra Jones in the Chicago Tribune. Not waiting for Black Friday, retailers have been offering steep discounts for weeks now, and even luxury retailers, “normally above the promotional game, have joined in the fray.” And it seems to be working—in one survey, 45 percent of consumers say they plan to shop over Thanksgiving weekend, up from 36 percent last year.

As you immerse yourselves in the “annual frenzy of shopping madness,” said Laura Coffey in The St. Petersburg Times, keep some tips in mind. “If you hate crowds, rely on the Internet.” If you do go out shopping, “dress comfortably.” Research the sales beforehand—some are time sensitive—and know what a good price is on a good product.

For smart holiday givers, “the challenge isn’t simply to avoid spending money,” said Brett Arends in The Wall Street Journal, “it’s to avoid wasting it.” Instead of just hitting the mall, consider giving Netflix subscriptions, airline miles, a webcam and Google Talk account, or even framed “Ford and General Motors stock… certificates”—cheap treasures of “genuine Americana,” while they last.