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Small Business Saturday is Way to Help Mom and Pop Shops

American Express posted this Youtube Video about ways to support small, independent retailers, and it's been viewed more than 5 million times.

Black Friday may be winding down, but the shopping continues this weekend. Tomorrow, shoppers will head out to support independent retailers in East Texas on Small Business Saturday.

The Tyler Small Business Development Center says on their Facebook page that Small Business Saturday is the day we celebrate the Shop Small movement to drive shoppers to local merchants across the U.S.

What Tyler, Longview and other area business will you support?

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Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images
Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images
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Thieves Like Electronics Too

Once you buy those highly-sought-after goods on Black Friday, do you leave them in plain sight in your car as you make your way to the next store?

Tyler police are offering tips to protect yourself and your goods during the holiday shopping season. Among the tips; hide the loot!

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Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
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Electronics Top Most Wish Lists

A new Nielsen survey says most kids age 6-12 want an iPad most of all this Christmas. Most adults would probably rather have that than a new sweater too.

The new Nintendo Wii U comes in second on most wish lists, and then the iPod Touch and iPad Mini.

The price range on those gifts is $199 for the iPod Mini, to $499 for the new iPad. There are reports that most households spend on average, between $500 and $700 on Christmas gifts. If you buy a couple of the hot electronics, you're already there!

Stores are getting ready to drop the ropes on the Christmas shopping season and let the crowds through tonight and tomorrow. We'll list some of the opening times to help you plan your strategy.

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turkey
toholio, flickr
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Where Did That Turkey Come From?

Texas doesn't have bragging rights in terms of the biggest turkey-producing states, but it does produce its share.

Nine to ten million Texas turkeys are produced each year, and most of those come from Central and East-Central Texas, according to a map from Smithsonian Magazine.

Which state is the biggest turkey producer? I'll give you the answer so you can impress your friends and family at the Thanksgiving feast today.

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Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Nickelodeon
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Nickelodeon
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Many East Texas Offices Shut Down for Thanksgiving Weekend

The next few days will be all about spending time with family, eating until we're sick, watching parades and football, shopping, and putting up the Christmas decorations.

For many offices, it won't be business-as-usual until Monday. Several East Texas agencies and businesses are rolling up the carpet and shutting down to observe the holiday. There's no mail tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, but it will be delivered on Friday. Here are the rest of the anticipated closures:

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Slaven Vlasic, Getty Images
Slaven Vlasic, Getty Images
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Millions Admit to Online Shopping in an Atypical Place

Are you planning to shop in the store, or online this weekend? Actually going to Broadway Square Mall, grabbing the item you want, and paying for it there without having to wait for UPS to bring it to you seems sort of nostalgic now. Die hard shoppers might argue it's the most fun way to obtain new things, but there is something quick and convenient about electronically adding to cart.

If you shop online, where in the house are you sitting? The toilet? I kid you not. Millions of Americans are participating in online shopping while sitting on the porcelain throne.

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turkey
toholio, flickr
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We Consume HOW Many Calories at Thanksgiving?

The season of eating continues this week.

We stuffed our faces full of candy at Halloween, and now it's on to the big Thanksgiving meal. This Thursday we'll sit around the TV watching the Cowboys' game and graze all day on turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and of course that green bean casserole with the crunchy onions on top that seems to find its way to most tables.

Have you ever put down the fork long enough to count the calories? Prepare yourself for the shock!

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Brandon Wade/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway
Brandon Wade/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway
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What Are the Best Seasonal Jobs?

It turns out, if you have Santa skills you can make big bucks during the holidays. Not all of us are cut out to perform the role of Santa at Broadway Square Mall for example, but if you have a slightly round belly, you're over the age of 45, and you're a guy, you can make a buck off the long lines and every parents' need for the perfect photo. Even if you're a skinny guy and you can pull off the deep "Ho, ho, ho" voice, you're on the fast track to making some holiday dough.

Careercast.com says playing the role of Santa Claus is the #1 holiday job. Santa can make $100 per hour! Of course that depends on where you are and who hires you. What are the best and worst holiday jobs?

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Powerball Lottery Jackpot
William Thomas Cain, Getty Images
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Powerball Jackpot Grows to $185 Million

Anytime the Powerball jackpot starts to swell, the lines grow longer to buy tickets and the pot of cash grows even bigger. So expect that $185 million jackpot to continue to move today as the day goes on.

Feeling lucky? Today is a good day to pool your money at the office and buy lots of tickets. The drawing is tonight, November 14th. Oh, think of the iPads and flat screen TVs you could put under the Christmas tree with that wad of cash. And pay off debt, buy a new house, donate to charity, buy a new car....you could be rollin' in George Clooney money.

I'll post the past few non-winning Powerball numbers in case you want to compare your own string of lucky numerals. Good luck!

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facebook2
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Some Facebook Users Still Steamed Over Election Posts

Throughout the election season, and especially last week, most of us saw Facebook posts from our friends that were less than friendly. In some cases they were full-on political rants where the friend ran out of room and you had to click "read more" to get to the overall point. It was exhausting at times, right? No matter where you fall in the political spectrum, sometimes you visit Facebook to see cute pictures of kids and cats, and not necessarily to be hit smack in the face with political statements.

Facebook had more than 70 million posts on Election Day. How did you feel about the outspoken ones?

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Michael Nagle, Getty Images
Michael Nagle, Getty Images
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East Texas Cheerleader to Appear in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade always has impressive floats, interesting performances from pop music and broadway, and it's a huge tourist draw for New York City.

One East Texas cheerleader is on her way! We'll watch for her on NBC next Thursday morning.

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Santa Passing out the bells
Texas State Railroad
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The Polar Express To Roll Through East Texas

A couple of weeks ago we were at a friends house and I ended up watching "The Polar Express" starring Tom Hanks with one of their small children, it's a movie I've seen many times and this time I got sucked into watching the entire thing that evening and you know, it never gets old! If you've never seen it, it is a must see movie and another great way to experience the movie is on the Texas State Railroads' Polar Express Train Ride.

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