The Ultimate Holiday Shopping Guide To Get You Through Black Friday and Beyond

Depending on who you ask, Thanksgiving is becoming less a holiday for food and family, and more a day of resting up and mentally preparing yourself before the real fun begins — Black Friday. Sure, you're downing as much turkey and stuffing as possible because hi, 'tis the season, but you're also fueling up to make sure you are at peak strength when you go to battle the masses lining up outside the mall once 4 a.m. rears its ugly head the next morning. No worries, I get it. Doorbuster sales wait for no one, and thanks to this ultimate holiday shopping guide by Merchant Warehouse, it's even easier to plan ahead. Because if you think for a second Black Friday is the only thing you have to worry about, you, my friend, are in for a rude awakening.

Presented as a compact infographic, this holiday shopping guide covers all your basics — the deals you stand to find shopping online versus stepping foot in the store, the best sales to hit up on Thanksgiving day as opposed to Black Friday, and the chances your e-commerce purchases will make it under the tree in time for Christmas. Sure, everyone knows that Black Friday is THE day to snag your electronics at an amazing discount, but did you know that clothing and shoe sales are almost 50 percent better if you hold off until Cyber Monday? The graphic also helps to navigate us through what might seem like unfamiliar terrain to some. Small Business Saturday? Heck yes, it's a thing. "Black" Sunday and #GivingTuesday? They're happening! And if you don't know what they are, now is your chance to find out.

On the one hand, I find it kind of fascinating that holiday shopping has become such a complicated ordeal. People aren't just seeking out deals — they're seeking out thrills. According to a DealNews 2014 Black Friday survey, 38 percent of people say they shop on Black Friday just for the experience and excitement of it all, and honestly, I can kind of see their point. Getting a 60-inch TV you can't possibly fit in your apartment at 60 percent off is great, but telling everyone all the gritty details about how you camped in line outside the store in bomb cyclone conditions to make that 60-inch TV a reality is the thing legends are made of.

Still, I can't help but think back to simpler times when I could spend my long Thanksgiving weekend off not beating myself up for missing out on a single one of the 40,000 deals Black Friday has to offer (no seriously, that's the actual number of deals shoppers can expect this season). Even on the best of days, shopping is exhausting, y'all. Can't we use these next few days to, oh, I don't know, just relax?

Personally, I plan on spending this Thanksgiving weekend playing serious catch-up on sleep, but for those of you brave souls out there who are determined to do it all this holiday season, here's your ultimate shopping guide. Try not to drive yourselves too crazy this year, k?

Visit our Black Friday Explore page for more on shopping's biggest day of the year.

Image: Merchant Warehouse; Giphy