It's that time of year again: Black Friday, the day that officially kicks off the holiday shopping season, with many stores opening early and offering items at reduced prices. Like last year, I avoided the usual mess that would happen at stores when they open (as there's no real major doorbuster sale that I needed to wait in line for) and instead went to see Lincoln with my family on Thanksgiving Day after dinner (it's definitely an interesting film, with the scenes focusing on the Lincoln's attempt to get the 13th Amendment passed in the House of Representatives being more entertaining than I expected), did my usual Thursday night routine before going to bed a little earlier than usual, and then woke up at 7:40 to spend a busy morning with me and my mother taking advantage of the various deals that the stores have to offer. The following is my report on where we went and what we got:

Best Buy: The first stop for me was Best Buy. I went there hoping to get some video games on my Black Friday shopping list for cheap (as they appear to have the best offers in terms of what I was looking for) and to see what Blu-Ray films they had on sale. In terms of video games, I only picked up one title with Little Big Planet Karting (as it looked like the other cheap games were for PS3 only, and I was looking for them on the Xbox 360 for hard drive conservation reasons). However, I did manage to pick up a lot of Blu-Rays for a decent price. In terms of building up a video library for my niece to enjoy when she gets older, I picked up E.T. and The Sound of Music (with the version of The Sound of Music being the limited edition 45th anniversary version). I also picked up Jaws and Inception as "cinematic" choices. Rounding out the list of Blu-Ray purchases was Captain America: the First Avenger (as I already have the first two Iron Man films and The Avengers on BD).

Toys R Us (Round 1): My next stop following Best Buy was the Toys R Us near my local mall. There's a number of reasons for stopping there. In terms of sales, there were a couple of sales that I wanted to check out involving video games. The first involved a "Buy 1, Get 1 40%" sale on Wii U games, with me wanting to take advantage of the sale to ensure that I have some additional games for system when I get it for Xmas (it's being shipped, with it scheduled to arrive on Monday). Not going to go into additional details here, as I'm saving this up to be mentioned in my list of things that I got for Xmas. However, I can mention the other video game sale that interest me at Toys R US, the "Buy 1, Get 1 for $1" sale on select games, with me taking advantage of it to pick up Sleeping Dogs and Dishonored for the Xbox 360. Along with video games, I also checked out the store to see if I can find a Transformer figure that me and my mother are looking for as part of the "Angel Tree" that my local church has. Unfortunately, they didn't have the type of figure we're looking for (with it being hard to find since the kid asked for a Revenge of the Fallen Deluxe figure).

Mall: Following Toys R Us, my mother and I headed to the mall. While my mother had wanted to check out the Christmas display at Macy's, that will have to wait another week, as most of her time was spent at Kohl's. The reason for this was because the store had a sale on Fisher-Price items, with her going there to not only pick up a pink racetrack set for someone she knows at the farm stand she works at, but also to get ready for next year's Christmas by buying items for the Fisher-Price dollhouse, as someone at Toys R Us recommended a dollhouse set for an Xmas gift for someone that is three (hence why I say next year's Xmas, as my niece just turned two last month). Not sure if she spent a lot of time looking for items or if there was a long line at the store. What I do know is that my mother was so busy here that I ended up meeting her there after she was running late for the usual mall meet-up at the food court. As for me, I pretty much looked around the mall, with me checking out Macy's myself. When it came to purchases, my plan to put off picking up Persona 4 Golden for the Vita until Black Friday was a success, with me buying the game at Gamestop. I also checked Sears and Radio Shack to see what they have to offer in terms of HDMI Switchers (as I'm likely going to need one for the Wii U).

Target: Following a trip to Golden Corral for breakfast after the mall, my mother and I went to Target. The first priority for this trip was once again the search for a Transformers Revenge of the Fallen Deluxe figure. It took a while before I was able to find the aisle with the Transformers toys, but I did, and just like the Toys R Us by the mall, they didn't have the figure type that I was looking for. With the search for the "Angel Tree" gift a bust, I then headed to the electronics area to, along with looking at their video game and movie deals and seeing if they have an HDMI switcher, to check some information that I got from Equestria Daily about some Target store selling the third My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic DVD early (I WANT MY FLUGELHORN!!!). Sure enough, my Target actually had the disc on sale 1 1/2 weeks early (I'm guessing it arrived in the store along with the main Shout Factory release for this week, the second half of Power Rangers Season 1, with Target putting in on the store shelves early). Given how items on the store floor before "street date" can go either way (i.e. I was able to pick up the Willy Wonka Blu-Ray, but not Bayonetta for the PS3), I headed to the check out to see if it can even be sold. Sure enough, it was available, and thus I picked it up as something to tide me over until the release of the Season 1 boxset in a couple weeks.

Hallmark: During my mall excursion while my mother was at Kohl's, I did check my local Hallmark and saw that the store had their latest in a series of animated plush items featuring a snowman singing a Christmas song (this year, it was Jingle Bells, with him and a penguin going on a skiing adventure). As my mother and I enjoy these items (there's an adorable one set to "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree featuring penguins with bells attached to their tails), I made sure to stop at the Hallmark near the Target to show her the item. Along with that, my mother also picked up 10 snowman cookie jars, with are going to be gifts for the people that work for my father.

Toys R Us (Round 2): After returning home to go on the Internet and take a nap, my mother and I made another run to Toys R Us, this time the store that's closer to our house. Like the previous Toys R Us run, we checked the Transformers aisle to see if they had the type of figure that we were looking for, but no luck (the two most likely options is either get a different "type" of Transformers figure, either Dark of the Moon or Prime, or order one on Amazon, which is a questionable move, as we don't know which character the kid wants figure-wise). We eventually did our separate shopping plans afterwards, with me picking up the one item that I decided to hold off until later in terms of Black Friday items being sold by Toys R Us, a BD/DVD combo set of Cinderella, which is another film in the video library I'm building up, while my mother was able to find the dollhouse that the items she got at Kohl's are supposed to go with. One other thing worth noting: while other stores only had the basic Wii U system package available (if they even had any), my local Toys R Us actually had a couple of the Deluxe sets still available (and this was around 4:00 PM when I went to that store).

Wal-Mart: Rounding out the list of stores that I went to was Wal-Mart, which I went to on my own to check the usual items (movies/video games/a possible place to get an HDMI Switcher) as well as to see if they got any more 3XL graphic shirts since Tuesday (the last time I went to the store). This time around, I didn't pick up anything at the store. However, I can say that the electronics area looked like a Black Friday war zone, with a lot of empty shelf space, the Bargain DVD area in a mess, and a lot of people in line to check out. As I headed out, I saw a couple of store security members and asked if they saw any protesters, as I heard that a number of Wal-Mart stores were going to deal with striking workers this Black Friday.

All in all, you could say I made off with quite a haul this Black Friday (with one more thing to order on Sunday, and another item coming in the mail hopefully next week):