How to be thankful during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

You don’t have to wonder why people love Thanksgiving Day parades: Those bustling street parties fill the nation with holiday cheer, a chance to indulge food cravings and the shared nostalgia of remembering a…

How to be thankful during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade


You don’t have to wonder why people love Thanksgiving Day parades: Those bustling street parties fill the nation with holiday cheer, a chance to indulge food cravings and the shared nostalgia of remembering a time when things were simpler.

And everyone loves the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The cavalcade of floats, marching bands and celebrities that draws millions of viewers each year inspires awe, says Rebecca Mauss, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the book The Greatest Parade in the World: A History of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“There is a lot of anticipation,” Mauss says. “Everybody has a sense of looking forward to seeing the balloons. There’s a sense of rekindling childhood memories and nostalgia.”

It takes time and patience to watch the parade. You’ll see “hundreds of thousands of people” as you make your way downtown from Manhattan, says Mauss. The people cheering along 4.5 miles of parade route are from all walks of life.

It’s no wonder you might feel grateful when you walk away. Why not show the gratitude in the way you watch the parade?

Maybe it’s just at the start of your trek that you feel the most grateful. Afterward, you’ll be exhausted and want to do something physical to squeeze in a little extra splendor. Join in a game of pick-up football, for example, or get in the car and drive to visit grandma.

Or maybe you’ll want to make time to pick up and appreciate the millions of happy people going about their Thanksgiving day routine. They’re the ones who deserve a little extra help.

Carried by a crowded parade of floats, balloons and celebrities, your eye will catch a blinking, happy face that takes your breath away. Attached to one of the giant balloons is an “America the Beautiful” balloon, with three amorous balloons that appeared to alternate showing the America’s Cup at sunset and the sun rising. (“Where’s those sapphires?” asks Rebecca Speight of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Macy’s Herald Square Parade. “We don’t have anywhere near enough sapphires at all.”

“The balloons represent to us, maybe a little differently than the grandstands, what is important about this holiday: the food,” says Speight. “It’s actually a great way to showcase what’s special about this year.”

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