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Sixty million Americans say they plan to shop this holiday weekend.

Black Friday is the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, but lots of retailers began promoting their Black Friday specials weeks ago -- hoping to get an early jump on sales.

And many stores will actually be open on Thanksgiving Day.

Consumers are expected to spend a bit more than last year. But they're doggedly looking for good deals, which are often found online.

I've almost made peace with the fact that we aren't hauling our kids down to my parents in Florida for Thanksgiving.

Actually, it's my sister Cecily I feel bad about. She's the one I don't keep in touch with enough. She's 39, and -- deep breath -- "developmentally disabled and legally blind." Those jargon-y words give only the barest outline of her experience of navigating the world. And my family's experience, too.

Another Thanksgiving brings another round of traditional foods that can be bland, soggy and, frankly, unappealing. But it's not too late to snap your holiday meal out of the doldrums with a few simple cooking makeovers.

The holiday is full of culinary hurdles, says Chris Kimball, host of America's Test Kitchen on PBS. But he assures that a few recipe redos can help solve perennial problems.

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