Call me crazy, but I love Black Friday. I'm not talking about the sit at home and shop from your computer kind of Black Friday (although there are plenty of great online deals if that's more your scene). I'm talking about the wake up at the crack of dawn, drive to the mall, and deal with crazed parking lots and stores kind of Black Friday. If you think I'm insane, I don't blame you. Before I was in my junior year of high school, I probably would have thought I was batshit out of my mind, too. Honestly, I'm probably the least likely person to enjoy Black Friday. I hate crowds — that's one reason I rarely go to big concerts and wouldn't be caught dead in a club — and can be extremely impatient while shopping. I usually prefer to be in and out of a store in 10 minutes or less, which is why I tend to go by myself. I can't remember what exactly convinced me that I should get up at 4:30 a.m. on November 23, 2007, and head to Providence Place Mall. Maybe I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Or maybe I wanted to rebel against my Black Friday-averse parents and prove that I, the tough 17-year-old that I was, could "handle" the day. Whatever it was, I woke up bleary-eyed and still in a partial food coma from Thanksgiving and had one of my favorite days that year and every year since. Here's why... For some people, the holiday season begins with the Rockefeller tree lighting. For me, it begins with Black Friday. It's the day that puts me in the Christmas spirit. I don't go to the mall with the intention of buying anything, so my expectations aren't dependent on getting certain deals. I go with the intention of buying a hot chocolate, listening to Frank Sinatra holiday music, and walking around to see how all of the stores are decked out in festive decorations. With expectations like that, Black Friday is absolutely doable. While everyone else is rushing around, determined to beat the lines or get the free "something" promised to the first 50 customers at Macy's, I'm sipping my cocoa and having a jolly good time. I know I'm the only calm one in a sea full of extremely anxious people. If I do buy something and get a great deal, that's a bonus, but not a necessity for me to see the day as a success. After two or three hours of strolling around, I head home, giving my parking space up to some very grateful person. By that point, my food coma will have subsided, meaning I'm ready to dig in to leftovers again, curl up with my yellow lab, and watch Bill Nighy sing Christmas Is All Around as Love Actually's endearing, washed-up pop star, Billy Mack. I'm now officially prepared to toast the season with eggnog — and, at some point, do my Christmas shopping. If you think you hate Black Friday but have never actually experienced it, perhaps this is the year that changes all that. Yes, it can be a day of sale-induced madness. But for me, and maybe you, too, it can be a day of holiday cheer. So bring on the ugly Christmas sweaters and reindeer cookies.