My Thanksgivings don’t usually start with 5:45 wake-up calls. But my Thanksgivings also don’t usually include a visit to the most celebrated parade in the world.
And my Thanksgivings NEVER feature an appearance from KISS. Which is usually the thing I’m most thankful for.
But last Thursday I got all of those things, for better or worse, because, thanks to the good people at Macy’s and Mom and Buried’s bizarre obsession with this event, I’d secured tickets to the 88th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Last week I wrote about the ways having kids forces you to change your priorities, and make decisions you might not have made if you weren’t a parent. Let me assure you that attending parades is not something I would do if I didn’t have a kid. That being said, if you hate parades but have to attend one? The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is probably as good as it gets.
The getting up early part wasn’t so good. When your four-year-old is astonished that you’re getting out of bed when “it’s still nighttime!” you’re probably up too early. But tickets to the Thanksgiving Day parade come with rules, and one of them is that if you don’t get there – and get in line – before 8AM, you’re not guaranteed a seat. And when you live in Brooklyn and have to take the subway to Central Park, that means you have to get up before the sun does. Hooray!
When we finally arrived, we were granted admission to the bleacher section alongside the bottom of Central Park, and about 30-45 minutes into the parade route. Which means we got there before 8AM and sat on cold aluminum bleachers for about 90 minutes and waited for the parade got to us. Detective Munch was not exactly loving the wait, and neither were his toes, and neither were my arms, because strollers weren’t allowed, and he was in mine basically the whole time. Or on my shoulders, which is great, because does anyone know a masseuse I think I’m dying.
Thankfully, once the balloons started flowing, his spirits perked up, because let’s face it: who doesn’t love a parade? (I’ll give you one guess…)
There is a full list of the balloons at the Macy’s Parade website, but my son’s favorites were Spider-Man (obviously), Paddington Bear, the Pillsbury Doughboy (whom he disgustingly, but not inaccurately, referred to as “Goo Boy”), Snoopy and Thomas the Train (the very first balloon). In addition, as is customary at this parade, there was a bunch of floats, on which a wide variety of “celebrities” and bands I’ve never heard of stood and waved, including the Sesame Street gang and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as well as one of the Jonas brothers, who looked about as miserable as you’d expect someone who was famous for being a Jonas Brother to be. At least PRETEND you want to be here, kid!
Also making an appearance? The aforementioned KISS, whose presence made about as much sense as getting up at 5:45 to watch a lot of people walk past me. At least I could be secure in the fact that I wasn’t going to be the only person pounding beers as soon as I got off the parade route. Although Mom and Buried was probably still going to be the only person pounding a split of champagne.
Thanksgiving is a day on which we’re supposed to be thankful for stuff, so despite the early morning and the cold weather and the disturbing appearance of a 60-year-old’s disconcertingly long tongue, I’ll join in. I’m thankful to the people at Macy’s for providing me with the opportunity to take my son to this iconic parade. I’m thankful my son reserved his meltdowns for before and after the parade, because I didn’t need 40,000 strangers see my call my son an asshole on Thanksgiving day. I’m also thankful that when Megan Trainor’s float went by, I couldn’t hear her speakers blasting “All About That Bass” song because A) I didn’t need that stuck in my head at Thanksgiving dinner and B) we all know “Shake It Off” is the ear-worm of the year!
Finally, I’m thankful that Sixpoint Brewery makes a 24-ounce can that I was able to take on the train to Grandma’s because if you expect me to be thankful for anything after being awake since 5:45 in the morning, you’d better get me drunk.