The history of America's legal holiday of Thanksgiving is not complete without mention of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Tradition has this and other parades scheduled in the morning while the holiday meal is being prepared. Whether by design or accident, the parade distracts family members from the kitchen where the mammoth project is underway.
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was devised by a large department store in New York City in 1924 as a way to kick off the Christmas shopping season which begins the day after Thanksgiving. Christmas shopping is worth every bit of the effort to draw crowds downtown. This single scant month of retailing pays the bills and makes the profit for the entire year in many retail stores. The parade began being carried by television in the 1950's so that it gained the national spotlight.
The parade is a very long and elaborate one with floats, bands, and helium balloons depicting well known cartoon characters. A lot of press is given to the helium balloons which take a long time to make and require and entire team of ground personnel (called balloon wranglers) to pull with ropes through the streets of New York. These are numerous and each year brings new versions. The first of these was Felix the Cat in 1927. No one has ever failed to be impressed by the sight of these gliding past high rise buildings. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was only interrupted a few years during WWII but started up again in 1945.
Macys was once limited to the downtown area of New York but now has stores in many malls throughout 45 states. They were founded in 1858 and now are part of the larger federated department stores group. They sell primarily clothing, jewelry, beauty products, furniture and house wares.
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