At the very first annual Macy's parade, in 1924, the star of the show was Santa Claus. That's because it was a Christmas parade, meant to unveil Macy's giant Christmas display and drive customers into the store. In fact, even today, the final float in the parade is Santa on his sleigh, but when the parade started out, Christmas was the entire point of the whole event.  

They scheduled the event for Thanksgiving because that's when Macy's wanted the Christmas shopping season to begin. They weren't really concerned about the exact date, however. If the weather was bad, they had plans in place to postpone it for the next day.

We're tempted to say this all makes much more sense than a Thanksgiving parade. What the heck is a Thanksgiving parade, right? But that wouldn't be quite accurate. Lots of cities have Thanksgiving parades. The Macy's one is only the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade in the country, behind Philly's. Tied for second place, actually, with Detroit, which calls their event "America's Thanksgiving Parade."

It would be just a couple years before Macy's shifted to people marching in costume to giant balloons of cartoons. 1926 had a balloon-themed float, hosted by a bunch of Balloonatics, and the big balloons debuted in '27. They proved a lot more manageable than the original parade's other attraction: bears and camels, borrowed from the zoo. 

It's an absurd idea now, though, ushering in Christmas with a parade set on Thanksgiving. By Thanksgiving Day, of course, Christmas has been ongoing in America for an entire month. 

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For more Macy's cheer, check out:

The (Accident Riddled) History Of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

 Elf Had To Film In A Mental Hospital Because Macy's Wanted To Lie About Santa

Police Employee Tosses Sensitive Information Into The Air At The Parade

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