NEW YORK — Long, winding lines at 4 a.m. Punching and shoving in the aisles to get those early bird specials. It can be a jungle on the day after Thanksgiving, which marks the official start of the holiday shopping season.

Here are a few tips on how to survive on what is known as Black Friday, according to shopping experts.

Start early and make a list. "You can take control," says Helen Malani, shopping expert for, a search site. "Make a list of what it is you want to buy. Be as specific as you can be. Not just a camera, but the specific brand and model."

Use the Web as a research tool. Before you head to the mall. Comparative shopping sites such as or provide information such as prices of certain items at different merchants, Malani said.

Arrive before the doors open. Experts say it is best to call ahead to find out exactly when stores open and how long the limited deals last.

Dress for success. Dress in layers because you'll likely be freezing outside and really hot inside. And forget the purse. Shoppers should wear clothing with pockets to carry glasses and credit cards to keep your hands free.