Nothing says Thanksgiving tradition like Macy's parade of giant balloons.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City has become a major part of the holiday, with family’s across the country tuning in to watch every year. While new balloons and attractions are consistently added to, or retired from the parade, some characters have become familiar mainstays.
The most iconic part of the parade is arguably its finale. Since the parade’s introduction in 1924, Santa Clause has generally closed out the festivities. Even though the parade ends long before turkey dinner is served, St. Nicholas appears to officially ring in the Christmas season.
Other iconic balloons are Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Interestingly, while characters from the Peanuts comics have regularly been featured in the parade, the balloons and attractions are regularly switched out. According to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade fandom wiki, Charlie Brown first appeared in the 1967 parade as part of a live performance. Since then, he and Snoopy have regularly appeared and have even led the parade.
Of course, nothing says Thanksgiving like Spider-Man. The Marvel Comics hero has been a part of the parade since 1987. While the character is known for swinging from building to building, the balloon depicts him in a crawling pose.
It may come as a surprise that SpongeBob SquarePants has been a part of the parade for nearly two decades. The popular children’s show character first debuted in the 2004 parade.
Even more surprising, the Energizer Bunny, a popular battery mascot from the ‘90s, didn’t make its debut in the parade until 2006.
While Santa Clause closes out the parade, he’s not the only Christmas icon to be a part of the parade. In recent years, "The Elf on the Shelf" has joined the holiday show.