Cooper says the best way to avoid headaches this time of year is buying from stores you know. There's many business that pop up during the holiday season and shut down before you can use the gift card.
If you pay with a credit card, then if for some reason the store does close; you may be able to dispute the charge.
Cooper says paying by credit card can improve your chances of getting a refund. Also check the stores' return and refund policies and make sure you get a gift receipt.
Cooper also suggests shopping within your means.
Prioritize what you think the best values and deals are going to be.
And if Black Friday shopping just isn't your thing, ask the sales people when the next big sale will be.
Also make sure you do your homework in advance. Check online --make sure you sign up for the store's online services, bring in flyers and make sure you bring your store coupons for extra savings, plus make a list.
No matter where you're shopping this holiday season, be prepared.
Cary Town Center, Raleigh's Triangle Town Center and the Streets at Southpoint unlock their doors on Black Friday at 6 a.m.
Crabtree Valley Mall kicks off their shopping day at 7 a.m., but department store hours vary.