One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the shopping.

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the shopping.

I love shopping for clothes, for toys, for myself and for other people. I even get a thrill out of little things like picking out new towels for the bathroom.

After a full day of shopping, I like to go home, get online and keep shopping. The internet is truly a wonderful thing.

The holiday season finally gives me a good excuse to visit every store in the Rogue Valley. I wander through Ashland's plaza and make sure to visit every shop, even the ones that I have never bought anything from, ever.

I don't discriminate, though; I also go to Medford and shop at the mall and the other "big-box" stores.

I love to shop with the sound of Christmas carols in the background. I'm turning into Pavlov's dog, at the first chime of a Christmas bell, I pull out my credit card.

I come from a family that hates to shop. I'm sure my mother would rather have chronic strep throat than step foot in a mall. Luckily, she's easy to shop for.

All my life, all she's ever wanted as a gift is socks. I could have saved a lot of money over the years if I had just bought a jumbo sized bag of socks and doled them out to her one pair at a time each time her birthday and Christmas rolled around.

Even my sister, who is incredibly stylish and well-dressed, won't shop with me. She likes to shop completely alone. I guess the pressure of shopping while someone watches her is just too much.

You might be surprised, after hearing how much I love to shop, that I have never gone out shopping on Black Friday. It's taken me a long time to figure out what the appeal is of getting up in the dark to shop in a wild frenzy with a bunch of strangers.

But I think I finally understand.

Black Friday is attractive to those people who like to think of shopping as a competitive sport. You know the type of person, the friend that's always telling you how much they saved on their shoes and have the ads from stores sent directly to their iPhone each week.

"Competitive Shopper" also is a term which applies to those annoying strangers at the airport who always want to tell you how much they spent on their airline ticket. I really hate talking to strangers in airports anyway, though, so the fact that they're trying to rub my face in their ticket price is only icing on the cake.

I would rather spend more money and be able to brag that I did not have to get up at 2 a.m. on Black Friday to make an excellent "score." I want to tell people: "Well, I slept until noon and then went out and bought these boots at full price. It was totally worth it."

I will get up in the pre-dawn hours for exactly three things: 1) work, 2) if my son is throwing up, and 3) if there's some really amazing reality TV show on. Shopping doesn't make the list.

For me, shopping is Zen-like and peaceful. I like to run my fingers through all the different colors and spend hours in the dressing room comparing two almost identical pairs of jeans.

I like to shop for my son and peruse all the new Legos.

I like to read the backs of all the boxes and the tags on all the clothes.

There are a lot of things I like about shopping, and sitting in my car in the cold waiting for Walmart to open is not one of them.

Zoe Abel is at her computer, with dozens of windows open to different stores' websites. She'd also like to share that she once spent $29 on a flight to Los Angeles.