Traditional Thanksgiving Celebrations
Along with celebrating all things American, Thanksgiving is a time for appreciating the good things life has brought. While many families celebrate by eating an elaborate meal and watching football games, others attend Thanksgiving Day parades. By far, the Macy”s Thanksgiving Day parade is one of the most well established and well known of the Thanksgiving Day parades.
Because Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for the positive things in one”s life, enriching the lives of more needy people is also a great way to celebrate this holiday. Whether you run a turkey trot to raise money for charity or you volunteer at a soup kitchen, you can celebrate Thanksgiving by giving back to the community.
Thanksgiving Day Parades
With nearly a century of history, Thanksgiving Day parades have not only evolved but also, at various times, come into competition with each other. Rivalry among the organizers of the various famous Thanksgiving parades is well documented. Hudson Detroits Thanksgiving Day Parade is a prime example. The Hudson extravaganza, inspired by the Italian street carnivals of the 1920s, was the brainchild of Charles F. Wendel of the J.L. Hudson Company.
In 1959, Hudsons Thanksgiving Day Parade became embroiled in a dispute. ABC held the broadcast rights to the Hudson”s parade but CBS wanted to show all three major parades (Hudson”s Parade, Gimbels Parade, and Macys Parade). Without permission from Hudson”s or ABC, CBS did broadcast a portion of Hudson”s Thanksgiving Day Parade and a lawsuit ensued. For a short while the spirit of Thanksgiving was overlooked in a mess of corporate wrangling.
The Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade
Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade is a great US tradition. In 1924, the famous Manhattan store held its first Thanksgiving parade amid huge spectacle and fanfare reminiscent of European style festivals of the time. Because the parade was an instant success Macys decided to make it an annual event. Now, the Macy”s Thanksgiving Day Parade is world famous.
With the exception of the war years, when the expense and frivolity of the occasion was deemed inappropriate, Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade has become increasingly lavish over the years. Key dates and magic moments in the history of Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade include:
- 1924: Macys employees mesmerized Manhattan with their first ever Thanksgiving Day Parade. An estimated 250,000 spectators turned out to witness the event.
- 1926: A Humpty Dumpty float joined the Parade.
- 1927: The first Felix the Cat float appeared.
- 1934: Macys collaborated with Walt Disney Productions to produce the first Mickey Mouse balloon.
- 1940: Macys borrowed a number of live animals from Central Park Zoo to take part in the parade.
- 1942 — 1944: The war yearswitnessed a three-year suspension of the annual parade. Instead, Macys donated the rubber, which would have been used for the parade”s balloons, to the war effort.
- 1950s: Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade was broadcast live on national TV. Santa Claus was centrally involved for the first time.
- 1961: This year saw the debut of the Bullwinkle the Moose float.
- 1963: Macys Paradewent ahead despite the assassination of President Kennedy, just the previous week.
- 1971: Severe winds prevented the use of balloons in Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Ideas for Celebrating Thanksgiving
In keeping with the Thanksgiving spirit of gratitude and appreciation for what we have been given, some people celebrate Thanksgiving by volunteering their services to help out the less fortunate. By enriching the lives of the less privileged, the act of giving thanks becomes a physical gesture, rather than a personal reflection.
If you are inspired to celebrate this Thanksgiving by donating your efforts, there are a few different options for you to consider. One possibility is to raise money for a charity by running a turkey trot. The Hunger Network and local Community Action Teams (organizations that fund community projects) are two of the more established sponsors. You can also make direct donations to these and other charities without having to run or walk on Thanksgiving Day.
Alternatively, you could donate your time and energy to a food kitchen, orphanage or elderly home. These establishments often get overwhelmed when it comes to preparing a Thanksgiving dinner for a large number of people.
However, if you plan to volunteer, remember that organizations such as food kitchens often need help in areas beyond food service. Volunteering to collect food or donations from local residents and businesses is a good alternative if your local food kitchen already has enough people serving food.
Another option is to start a food and clothing drive at your church, school, or workplace. Collected items can be dropped off to your local Salvation Army or Red Cross before Thanksgiving.
Above all, if you act according to the spirit of giving thanks, your Thanksgiving will be a warm and memorable celebration, regardless of how you ultimately celebrate it.