Black Friday: Collectibles, keepsakes and freebies for early shoppers

an early morning Black Friday crowd lines up outside a storeBlack Friday is mostly about deals, but some shoppers are also after the free collectibles and gift cards that stores hand out each year. For countless retailers, these giveaways are an annual ritual, and Black Friday 2010 celebrates the continuation of Black Friday's free trophies.

For at least a decade, JCPenney has distributed Disney snow globes on Black Friday. The collectibles usually feature Mickey Mouse, although Minnie has also made an appearance. This year, stores plan on giving away more than 1.9 million snow globes on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each JCPenney store will hand out anywhere from 100 to 5,000 globes, depending on store size and sales volume.

Inside the box with this year's globe will be a note about the Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree program. The program allows participants to "adopt" a child or senior adult from the Salvation Army angel list. Shoppers can purchase gifts online for the receivers, who live nearby.

Costco distributes free cookbooks to the first in line on Black Friday and this year marks its ninth of giving out recipes -- alll of which use ingredients found at the warehouse club. In case shoppers miss out on November 26's freebies, electronic versions of each cookbook are also available on Costco's website.

REI also plans to give away some freebies to eager Black Friday shoppers. On the morning of Friday, November 26, the first 150 customers that visit each REI store will receive a $20 REI gift card. Stores open and the giveaway begins for the second year in a row, at 8 a.m.

All early-rising shoppers win a small chunk of cash at Target this Black Friday. Any customer to spend more than $100 before 10 a.m., receives a $10 Target gift card. These cards can be applied to future Target purchases.

For many, these collectibles and free giveaways are more important than the actual Black Friday sales.

"We do have people who have made a tradition out of coming by every year to get a snow globe," said Tim Lyons of JCPenney Public Relations. A few years ago an associate on the JCPenney PR team said her mother called because she didn't make it to JCPenney on Black Friday to grab one of the globes that she had been collecting for several years. "I gave her mine," said Lyons. "Her mom was thrilled."
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