published Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Get out of the house and put some living in Thanksgiving

Get a jump on shopping

Can't wait for the Black Friday sales? You can start checking items off your shopping list at several stores today. Walmart will be open regular hours; Kmart, 6 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sears, 7 a.m.-noon; and Big Lots, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreens drugstores are open, though most pharmacies are closed.

And you can shop online with any major retailer today.

A growing number of stores are starting their Black Friday sales earlier too. This year, it's more about staying up late than getting up early. Walmart and Toys R Us will kick off the shopping blitz at 10 p.m. today, and stores including Target, Kohl's and Best Buy will follow with midnight openings.

If groceries are what you need, you can shop at Food Lion until 3 p.m. and Bi-Lo until 7 p.m. today. Publix stores are closed.

-- Compiled by Lisa Denton

See a movie

1. "The Muppets" -- Writer/actor/Jim Henson fan Jason Segel penned a story about the imminent closure of the fictional Muppet Theater for the franchise's first theatrical film in more than a decade. Amy Adams costars alongside Segel, but the film features a cavalcade of cameo appearances by well-known stars.

2. "Hugo" -- Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese makes his first foray into 3D filming with this theatrical adaptation of Brian Selznick's novel "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" about the fantastic adventures of a Parisian orphan in the 1930s.

3. "Arthur Christmas" -- James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent and Bill Nighy lead the vocal cast for this animated film about the secret mission Santa Claus's youngest son, Arthur Christmas, must undertake before Christmas morning.

4. "Happy Feet Two" -- Elijah Wood and Robin Williams reprise their vocal roles in this sequel to the 2006 animated film about a tap dancing penguin. The sequel's story centers on a new threat to the penguin colony and features guest appearances by singer Common and actors Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.

5. "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part One)" -- The fourth and penultimate entry in the romantic saga based on Stephanie Meyer's young-adult book series centers on the marriage of human Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a union opposed by werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner).

-- Compiled by Casey Phillips

Catch a star

Rossville's rising star, Lauren Alaina, kicks off an afternoon triple-header of football games when she sings the national anthem to open the Detroit Lions vs. Green Way Packers matchup. Game time is 12:30 p.m. on Fox.

"I don't usually get nervous before I sing, except when I'm singing the national anthem," said Lauren, runner-up on Season 10 of "American Idol," in a phone interview from Washington, D.C. Lauren sang for President Barack and Michelle Obama in a Christmas special that was televised last night on PBS stations,

"It [singing 'The Star-Spangled Banner'] always makes me nervous because it's so important, such a song to be respected. If somebody messes it up, they never hear the end of it."

-- Susan Pierce

Give thanks and worship

Senior citizens and the less fortunate are invited to share a bountiful meal at Community Baptist Church, 143 Pin Oak Drive, in Rock Spring, Ga., today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The church also will deliver meals. There is no charge. For information, to help with the church's second annual dinner or to schedule a delivery, call 706-978-0125 or 706-764-0032.

Meanwhile, for those who want to express their thanks in a church setting, First Church of Christ, Scientist, 612 McCallie Ave., will host a 10:30 a.m. service today.

-- Compiled by staff writer Clint Cooper

Have some fun

1. Holiday Bowl locations in Brainerd and Hixson will both be open 4-11 p.m. Pin Strikes on Lee Highway will be open 6-midnight and AMF Tri State Lanes in East Ridge will be open from 1 p.m.-midnight.

2. If you don't want to get out, make sure someone brings along their Wii and organize a family bowling tournament.

3. Organize a neighborbood touch football game. Hint: It's better to play before eating a plate of turkey and dressing.

4. If you are reading this early enough in the day, both the Turkey Trot at the Sports Barn East and the Grateful Gobbler Walk at Coolidge Park start about 8 a.m.

5. If you have out-of-town guests, today is a perfect time to show off our town. For example, you could stroll the Riverwalk. Take two cars and park one at the Riverpark and drive to the Bluff View Art District and start your walk there.

-- Compiled by Barry Courter

Get out of the kitchen

Want to spend more time with the family and less time in the kitchen? Leave the cooking to chefs around town and dine out at one of these restaurants open today.

* Blue View Art District: Chefs from Tony's Pasta, Rembrandt's, Back Inn Cafe and Bluff View Bakery prepare the dishes; 11 a.m.-4 p.m., $26.95 adults, $14.95 ages 12 and under. Reservations: 265-5033, ext. 4

* Broad Street Grille in The Chattanoogan: Cajun-fried turkey and bourbon-cider-brined ham are stars of this Low-Country Thanksgiving buffet; noon-5 p.m., $32.95 adults, $17.95 ages 6-12. Reservations: 424-3700.

* Chattanooga Choo Choo: A buffet of favorite Thanksgiving dishes will be served in the Grand Dome lobby; 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., $24.95 adults, $19.95 ages 65 and older, $13.95 ages 12 and under. Reservations: 308-2481.

* Delta Queen Riverboat: Ham, turkey and N'awlins-style shrimp are among the Southern dishes served in the Paddlewheel Restaurant; 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m., $27.95 adults, $24.95 senior adults, $18.95 ages 12 and under. Reservations: 468-4500.

* Sheraton Read House: Thanksgiving dinners in the historic hotel are a holiday tradition; noon-8 p.m., prices vary according to menu selections. Reservations: 643-1240.

* Sticky Fingers: The Hamilton Place location will serve a buffet of smoked ham and turkey with all the sides; noon-6 p.m., $16.99 adults, $8.99 ages 5-13. Reservations: 899-7427.

* 212 Market: The downtown restaurant offers entree choices including Oysters Bienville, Georgia quail, Muscovy duck breast and crab-stuffed North Carolina trout; 11 a.m.-3 p.m., prices vary by menu selection. Reservations: 265-1212.

-- Compiled by Susan Pierce

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