A Longstanding Tradition: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

I’m not a native New Yorker, but there’s one quintessential NYC event that is part of my earliest childhood memories – the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Growing up, my Thanksgivings were filled with traditions. The family would get up early to get Thanksgiving dinner started, and then my sister and I would sit down in front of the TV to watch the parade. I remember our excitement as we watched the oversized character balloons making their way down the city streets, the sound of the marching bands, the Broadway song and dance routines, and the glamorous Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. We’d get so excited as the end of the parade drew near, knowing we’d soon see Santa Claus and his sleigh. After the parade was over, the family would sit down to Thanksgiving dinner. Later, after the dinner dishes were washed and put away, we’d put up our Christmas tree as Elvis Presley’s Christmas album played in the background. Thanksgiving was the beginning of our holiday season.

Despite watching the parade every year on TV – in fact, I don’t think I’ve missed the parade in almost 50 years – I never had the opportunity to see it in person. Since we moved to New York City a few years ago, we’ve talked about it but haven’t gone. That ended this year, when we woke up and realized the cable television was out. If we were going to continue our parade tradition, we were going to have to do it in person. We quickly threw on some clothes and rushed to the subway, hoping to get to the parade route before the start of the parade. We headed to the west side of Central Park, near the start of the parade route, and arrived just in time to claim a good spot.

Ready to watch the parade with me?








Although we didn’t get to see the Broadway productions or the Rockettes on our part of the route, the parade still brought back all those lovely childhood memories of the holidays. And we agreed that going to the parade will be part of our future Thanksgiving traditions!

So what are your favorite holiday traditions?

15 thoughts on “A Longstanding Tradition: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

  1. What splendid photos, and what a buzz it must have been to see the parade in person after all these years. Traditions? Plenty in my childhood, but now we make a tradition of no traditions. Christmas started it (or stopped it?) the year the boys got surfboards and settled for a Vegemite sandwich as they searched for a wave! My children were deprived of the rituals that gave me so much pleasure: a pantomime with the aunts; carol singing; agonising over gifts; sore feet on shopping day in the city; evening meal at my grandfather’s, with dishes of chocolates and chicken in aspic.

    1. Sounds like some lovely Christmas memories. It’s hard to maintain those traditions, isn’t it? When my grandparents were alive, we all traveled to have Christmas with them each year. Now, we are scattered across the country. We decided a number if years ago we didn’t want to travel during Christmas anymore. We’ve made new Christmas traditions in NYC. We go have Japanese for our Christmas dinner, and then head to the Central Park Zoo if the weather is good (all of the City zoos are open on Christmas). Finally, we go see the department store holiday windows.

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