By Diana Metzger
When I was little I used to call the televised parade “The Macy’s Parade”—ignoring which holiday the festivities were attached to entirely. It’s actually a fitting shortening of the full title because the telecast is like one long, glorified commercial—not just for Macy’s but for a host of other products. You know what, I don’t care if loving this parade makes me a corporate whore. If loving this parade makes me a whore, send me out into the night in thigh-highs and a money belt.
Truly I shouldn’t have to defend child-like wonder and mirth that comes with 3-straight televised hours of giant balloons, baton-twirling bands, and vocal frying pop singers. But I will because I’m a rabble-rouser.
First and foremost, I love this parade because it’s tradition. Tradition makes people blind to common sense, especially around the holidays. I once dated a guy who swore by sweet potatoes with marshmallow fluff and string beans with Campbell’s mushroom soup on top for Turkey Day. Both dishes feel kind of overkill and not my bag. Who am I to judge; I love cranberry “sauce” out the can (what I call “half moons” because of the shape when you cut the jelly in half). It’s freaking delicious and the Parade is the shit.
From childhood into my adult years (post a hung-over eye flight from Los Angeles to DC), I would crawl into my parents bed and watch the parade with my mom. I love the patter between The Today Show hosts as they discuss how cold it is, while below them some tween bounces around a float wearing a sleeveless M&M onesie without a care. I’d occasionally bounce in and out of napping—but every part I’d catch was pure gold.
I dedicate 3 hours of my holiday morning to the Parade. I get to learn all about this year’s fresh crop of camera-ready pop stars in snuggly winter wear. I can also catch just enough of every Broadway musical I need to see and damn everyone looks so happy getting the chance to promote their show to massive viewing audiences. Yes, it’s not like Macy’s is encouraging Middle America to come see an off-Broadway dirge but they continue to give attention to theatre and child performers alongside big pop star acts.
The Parade also seems to be in on it’s own joke too. A few years ago, Rick Astley rick-rolled the crowd and another year the Buzz Lightyear balloon gave another kind of generous and surprising performance.
The Parade is also followed by a dog show and an airing of Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. I will not defend dog shows b/c Best in Show did that for me. Pretty much they’re the best.
Enjoy your holiday everyone. I’m going to watch the Parade, eat my face off, and then work it all off by doing Charlie Brown dances until X-Mas.
This piece originally ran November 28, 2013