In the last few years, retailers opened their doors in the dark cold hours of the morning on the day after Thanksgiving to kick off the Christmas shopping season. This year, they are not even waiting, starting things on Thursday night!

Black Friday is named so because retailers hoped that sales from that day would put them "in the black" for the year. In recent years, some stores had 5 a.m. openings, creating the perception that the earlier you shopped, the better the deals. Then 5 a.m. became 3 a.m., then midnight, with retailers offering unbelievable deals on a limited amount of merchandise to entice you into their businesses.

This year, the big guys are starting things about the time that your slice of pumpkin pie has digested and you're thinking about one last turkey sandwich.

Toys R Us, Walmart and Sears plan to open at 8 p.m. on November 22. Target plans to open at 9 p.m, Kohl's at midnight.

Black Friday ads have been available online for weeks now, and some retailers have even had pre Black Friday sales.

My wife and I have done some Black Friday early morning shopping the last few years, treating it as sort of "a date", shopping for our children and having a nice, quiet breakfast together.

We don't plan on doing any late Thanksgiving night shopping, but I wouldn't be surprised if my 16 and 13 year old daughters whisper in my ear at about 11 p.m. that evening and say; "Hey Dad, let's sneak over to Walmart!"