alexandra sieh

T here's this eCard floating around the internet that pretty much sums up my views on this weekend.

Something about how only in America do we fight to the death for crap we don't need just hours after spouting on about how thankful we are for what we already have.

I suppose you could avoid the double standard and say you're thankful for huge sales and mass marketing, thus making a Black Friday obsession legit.

Whatever you need to tell yourself.

As for me? Until last year I had successfully avoided the madness. And then a friend conned me into braving the fray of deal-driven shoppers, and I saw the true horror. Did it again this year, and let's just say I'm glad to have a weekend to recover.

Family-less this year, I'm sure there are a few folks out there like me that had a Thanksgiving lacking in political debate over home-cooked delights. My family had their own shindig in South Dakota, leaving me to my own less-than-impressive cooking -- AKA box pasta and a bag of salad.

Ah, the glamorous life of a post-grad.

So to make up for the lack of holiday spirit, or perhaps to recover from a family overdose -- you can only take so much time back home after living on your own -- I've got a few suggestions.

And the first, shockingly enough, has nothing to do with booze.

When you've got your fill of the 90-percent-off signs and $1 DVDs, find your way to a few local shops. Forget the box stores and go support those downtown retailers.


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Following Black Friday insanity is Small Business Saturday, and it's a chance to support your town. Bolster Boulder and shop local, folks. There's even a sidewalk sale there to fill the holes in your Christmas shopping list, while putting money back into the town you love.

It's a great way to cleanse yourself of the nationally under-priced goods and get back to local basics.

Info: Small Business Saturday, with downtown shops participating.

Now, on to the alcohol

In keeping with a pro-Boulder theme, Twisted Pine Brewery is re-releasing a local libation: The Pearl Street Porter.

Originally brewed to mark Boulder's 150th anniversary, the beer is back, dark, rich and full of flavor.

Raise a glass and celebrate its return this Friday.

Info: The re-release of the Pearl Street Porter at Twisted Pine Brewery from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., 3201 Walnut St.

Cheap spirits

You've dealt with your bickering relatives and uneducated political ramblings for a few days, and are probably in desperate need of a drink. A cheap one, since you just spent all your money on those to-die-for "deals," right?

Well, Catacombs Bar has specials sure to efficiently and affordably wipe away those holiday woes. Nothing like a $2 Long Island or $3 Absolut-filled drink of your choice to take you to your happy place.

So this Saturday, inexpensively indulge off Pearl Street and into your own holiday party.

Info: Happy Hour at Catacombs bar, from 6:30 to 10 p.m., 2115 13th Street.

Keep eating

Full yet? While I've never been a fan of the traditional Thanksgiving feast, I know my fair share of folks who waddle away from the table stuffed with stuffing and thankful for elastic waistbands.

I'm sure gym owners nationwide just smile and wait.

Well, if you've got room left, or were left to your own devices like I was and never got that full feeling, West End Tavern's got a challenge for you: The Wing King Challenge.

No, this isn't new, but I figured the theme of over-eating may as well continue for a few more days this year. I mean, who doesn't want to try to cram 50 wings down in 30 minutes?

Just think of Thanksgiving as a practice round, and now your stomach is just the right size.

Winners, if you can call them that, walk away with a T-shirt, their name on the Wall of Fame and bragging rights. Oh, and 12 free wings, a sa-weet free meal ... a few weeks later.

Info: Wing King Challenge at West End Tavern, 926 Pearl Street.

Follow Alex on Twitter: @ansieh.