The lady behind me in line at Sephora this morning told me that the mall was an absolute zoo at 2AM. That's just freaking ridiculous.
Left to my own devices, there is no way in hell that I would go out shopping on Black Friday. Short of somebody handing out free diamonds (and maybe not even then) there is nothing on earth that would make the crowds and craziness worth it. However, I go every year anyway.
It's part of the tradition. I stay over Thursday night when the rest of my family goes home, and at some early but at least reasonably civilized hour (usually 7AM or so) my mother-in-law and sister-in-law and I head out into the fray. We have our route established: Macy's, then other stores in the mall, followed by a kitchen store, lunch, Costco, DSW and Target. We roll back in exhausted and with a full trunk of Christmas shopping around 3:30PM, eat leftovers for dinner (with my husband and kids, who have come back to my in-laws' that morning to hang out with my nephews and father-in-law) and then head home for good in the evening. It's just what happens on Black Friday...my kids have never known anything different.
When I first met my in-laws, my husband and I had not yet officially started dating. They had come to town to visit him and were taking him out to a barbecue joint for dinner. I don't remember how it was that I ended up going too, but they could not have been kinder or more welcoming. I felt comfortable with them immediately.
When Himself bought my engagement ring, they helped him keep it a secret. After we got engaged, my MIL took me to look for my wedding dress, since my own beloved mother was far away on the other side of the country. She hosted one of our engagement parties and then also the baby shower when I was expecting Thing One. There has never been a single doubt in my mind that my in-laws love me and are very happy that I am married to their only son.
So...if the family ritual dictates that the females will bond over shopping on the craziest day of the year, I will go along with it cheerfully, for being part of this family is worth it, even if the shopping isn't.