Macys Thanksgiving Parade Memories + Trivia

Christmas Is Comin' Down Main Street!

At this time of year we at The Retro Christmas Card Company are reminded of how thankful we are for the traditions that keep us connected to our happiest memories: Remember when Main Street dressed in holiday style, welcoming hurried shoppers and wide-eyed children? When we’d pack up the car and head downtown for visits with Santa, magical parades and hours of holiday joy? Or waking Thanksgiving morning to the most wonderful smells in the kitchen as Mom got a head start on the day’s menu and Dad tuned in to the Macy’s parade?

We are celebrating one of those traditions today with 10 Macy’s Parade conversation starters for Thanksgiving dinner. They’ll keep the conversation going and in a cheerful mode.

So join us as we raise a glass (and a drumstick) to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

10 Macy’s Parade Conversation Starters For Thanksgiving Dinner:

Did You Know…The first Thanksgiving Day parade was not hosted by Macy’s, but by rival department store, Gimbels, in Philadelphia in 1920. Macy’s first parade was held in NYC in 1926.

Macy’s introduced their iconic balloons to the parade in 1927.  Three made their way to Herald Square that year: Felix The Cat was first, followed by The Dragon and Toy Soldier. Unlike the the high-flyers we see today, these were filled with air and carried on stilts.

The original Dragon balloon, at 178 feet long, holds the record for the parade’s largest ever.

The 1928/29 parades introduced recently-discovered helium to the balloons. These fantastical floaters  were released at the end of each parade, carrying instructions for their return and offering a reward to the lucky finder. What could go wrong? A lot, apparently. The practice was discontinued in 1932.

The parade was paused from 1942 – 1944, due to World War II. Macy’s donated its supply of rubber and helium to the US military for the war effort. The parade returned in 1945 to its first television audience.

The beloved 1947 classic Miracle on 34th Street was filmed on location in New York. The parade scenes were shot live during the 1946 parade. 

The Rockettes’ first parade appearance was in 1957, and they’ve been kickin’ it ever since. 

The 1958 helium shortage forced the parade to improvise… cranes were used to carry the balloons. Speaking of helium, Macy’s is the worlds #2 consumer of helium, second only to the US government.

Macy’s Parade Studio worked its magic in the former Tootsie Roll factory in Hoboken, NJ, from 1968  to 2011.  What a sweet spot!

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