Every year we all hear Black Friday horror stories. People becoming sleep deprived monsters in order to get an unnecessary amount of 60 inch flat screen TVs. Many people disapprove some stores requiring their employees to work on Thanksgiving or "Pre-Black Friday." Following the Thanksgiving festivities in my family, I always find Black Friday to be a very festive and enjoyable outing. There is no better way to get into the festive Christmas spirit.

First of all, in my family you do not go shopping on Thanksgiving. That is spent indoors with family and usually includes everyone passing out in a food coma. When I was 13, I was finally allowed to go with my mom and my aunt shopping rather than being forced to stay at home and help my dad and uncle look after my two younger cousins. I consider this time spent shopping with my mom and my aunt as one of the most intense and enjoyable bonding experiences that we share.

First. we spend some down time on Thanksgiving rewatching the parade and going through all the catalogs in order to pick out which stores we want to go to. Most of these are kids' toy stores so my aunt can go ahead and get start to my cousins' extensive Christmas lists, whereas I am all about going to get new cozy *and cheap* sweaters for the coming winter season.

Then, my favorite part, strategizing. We all sit down and map out when and where we are going and at what exact time when need to get up in the morning so that we still have plenty of time for all of us to get our various forms of caffeine.

Then its times for the shopping! This is, obviously, my favorite part. Not only do I get to pick out a few things for myself, but I love buying my friends and family Christmas gifts and checking everything off my list is incredibly satisfying. I have never once encountered a crazy free-for-all that is depicted in the news articles many of us will no doubt see the next day. I do credit this to going shopping in a small town in North Carolina.

We then end the day by subtly sneaking everything we bought back into my aunt and uncle's house (whether it's to hide how much stuff we bought from my uncle and my dad or to hide it form the kids, I'm still not 100% sure).

I feel like going Black Friday shopping with my family is in a way being invited to the "grown-ups table". I finally can hang out with them as more of friends and realize how similar we all are. I don't think that I will ever stop enjoying waking up at 4 am with them!*

*Disclaimer: just on Black Friday and Christmas, every other day I need my sleep.