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5 Better Ways You Could Be Spending Black Friday

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- If you managed to savor every forkful of Thanksgiving dessert, stick around the folks' place to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Baltimore Ravens and avoid Target, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us and just about every other store open that night, congratulations. If you managed to maintain your resolve today, you're part of a growing retail resistance movement.

Fewer than 140 million shoppers say they plan to elbow their way to deals this Black Friday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation. That's down from 147 million last year and 152 million two years ago. In fact, a full 86 million people answered with an outright "no" when asked if they planned to go shopping on Thanksgiving weekend. It's not that the rest of the country is opposed to shopping early: It just doesn't want to shop with everybody else.

A survey by Google indicated that 30% of holiday shoppers planned to hit stores before Halloween. By mid-November, the National Retail Federation found that 54% of the shoppers it surveyed had already begun working their way through holiday wish lists.

Besides, it's not as if there aren't several other fabricated retail holidays -- including Cyber Monday, Green Monday and Free Shipping Day -- to pick through. There are deals to be had on those days that won't put you in the middle of crowded store aisles, overpacked fast-casual strip mall restaurants or parking lots that distinctly resemble a carnival bumper car ride. Besides, the people around you aren't even getting the best deals.

When you take a look past the doorbusters and online sales, there are a whole lot of more practical ways to spend your time and money on Thanksgiving weekend. Here are just five: ���