The word(s): The (real) most wonderful time of the year

November is my favorite month. For me, November means comfort food – mashed potatoes and gravy, apple pie, peppermint hot chocolate. It means fleece jackets and fuzzy toe socks and electric blankets.

And with the biting chill of winter, November brings television sweeps, during which networks pull out all the stops to earn the best possible ratings. For shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” that means extra drama, for shows like “Modern Family,” twice the laughs. Jimmy Kimmel hosted Jon Stewart AND Stephen Colbert on Nov. 1 – an interview that will keep me smiling clear through the holidays.

At school, fall semester is winding down. With the end in sight, scheduling for spring semester has already begun. I always have fun putting together possible schedules. Now that I’m a sophomore, I’m taking more major-specific classes.

This November is special because it’s a presidential election year, my first since turning 18. I submitted my absentee ballot a few weeks ago. Admittedly, it was less exciting sealing the envelope than I imagine casting my vote at the polls to be. It still felt good to have a voice in the political process. It made me feel important.

It made me feel old.

Speaking of feeling old, my 20th birthday falls on Black Friday this year. (Yes, my name is April. No, I was not born in April.) This would be thrilling for most women my age, but I’m not a huge fan of regular shopping, let alone the all-out brawl that is Black Friday shopping.

Check out this video of a North Buffalo Target opening its doors at 4 a.m. on Black Friday 2010. Or this one of a riot in a Texas Wal-Mart from the same year. Over what, you ask? It appears to be some kind of griddle or coffeemaker. Or the Holy Grail, judging by everyone’s behavior.

These videos are terrifying to me — and oddly reminiscent of the stampede scene in “The Lion King.”

I fully understand the rush that comes with getting a great deal, but I also know what it feels like to get elbowed in the eye. I’ll go out to dinner at my favorite restaurant with my family on Black Friday, and hopefully I’ll get to hang out with a few friends from back home. I’ll be as far from Wal-Mart as possible. Maybe that makes me a wimp, but to each his own.

What I’m really looking forward to is the day before: Thanksgiving. I’ll get to see my brothers and sister-in-law, who I don’t spend half as much time with as I’d like. Along with the rest of my family, we’ll enjoy a delicious meal and spend the rest of the day watching movies in a food coma. Later, my mom and I will decorate our little Christmas tree, which we affectionately dubbed our “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.”

I have a lot to be thankful for, especially in the month of November.