How Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade will be different in 2020 due to COVID-19

“They’re still going to see the balloons. They’re still going to see the floats. They’re still going to see Santa and Broadway and all of these elements that they’re used to seeing every single year. They’re still going to see those things. They might have some differences in that we’re going to see some social distancing. We’re going to have masks, things like that. But it’s still going to be the parade they know and love.”

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Additionally, no parade participants this year will be younger than 18, and previously selected high school and college marching bands will perform in 2021 while locally based professional marching and musical ensembles will be heard this year, according to a news release.

In addition, dancers from the New York City Ballet and the casts of Broadway shows “Hamilton,” “Jagged Little Pill,” “Ain’t Too Proud” and “Mean Girls” will perform,

Behind the scenes, parade organizers will be taking plenty of safety precautions, Tercero said.

The 2019 parade had between 8,000 and 10,000 participants including performers, staff and balloon handlers. The workforce this year will be cut by around 70% to less than 2,000 people who will film segments over two days — with some segments filmed Wednesday, and the majority of the action airing live on Thanksgiving.

There will be staggered call times, social distancing on-site, masks and wellness checks, with the production following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Speaking of the balloons, the 2020 parade will offer plenty of new attractions for viewers, including a 48-feet-tall inflatable “Boss Baby” and Red Titan from the YouTube series “Ryan’s World.”

There also will be parade floats for animated legends Tom and Jerry ahead of their 2021 return to the silver screen; the new “Christmas in Town Square” float inspired by Lifetime’s “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime” holiday film extravaganza; and “Her Future is STEMsational,” a float presented by Olay celebrating women working in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

While Macy’s has been known for nearly a century for bringing folks together in New York City around the holidays, Tercero explained why the parade had to continue in one fashion or another during this most trying year.

Although we don’t know for sure, historians believe the original Thanksgiving meal looked very different than these foods we commemorate the holiday with today. For one thing, there was no green bean casserole. There likely wasn’t even stuffing. The meal likely included things like seafood, deer, berries, pumpkin, and fall vegetables.

In 1777 George Washington called for a national Thanksgiving holiday to be held the last Thursday of November as a way to recognize the end of the Revolutionary War and the new constitution.

The holiday has continued ever since, eventually morphing to be the official kick-off to the holiday season that lasts through New Year’s Day.

if your Thanksgiving will be different this year?

For most of us, this Thanksgiving holiday will be a significant break from tradition. With travel curtailed, limits on large gatherings, restaurant closures, and concerns about those who are most at risk from COVID-19 many people are looking for ways to safely celebrate the holiday, even if it’s on a small scale.

Here are some things you can consider to celebrate Thanksgiving in a new way this year:

  1. Cook a Thanksgiving meal, even if it’s just you. You don’t need a giant stuffed turkey to have a great meal. Pick your favorites from the traditional meal and plan your meal around the things that bring you the most joy. Consider purchasing a turkey breast instead of a giant turkey, or ordering a meal from your local grocery store. Bring out the fancy china and appreciate every bite.
  2. Have a Zoom event. Sure, we are all sick of video meetings, but at least a video check-in can help you create a community with friends and family who you can’t see in real life. Pick a time and spend an hour or two sharing desserts or wine while you catch up with your loved ones far and near. Share your favorite stories of Thanksgiving past.
  3. Watch a Thanksgiving movie or holiday episodes of your favorite shows. If you have some movies or shows that you watch every year, keep up the traditions. If you’re looking for more suggestions on what to watch, click here for my three holiday favorites. You can also use the new features on some streaming platforms to watch your movies and shows with loved ones remotely. Add your commentary, like a Thanksgiving Mystery Science Theater.
  4. Take a yoga class. Most yoga studios are offering classes online right now, and they often offer a special holiday class. Regardless of what your other plans are for the day, a nice gentle morning stretch coupled with meditation will help you feel better, guaranteed.
  5. Go for a hike in the woods. Take your dog and anyone else in your household. Connecting with nature is good for your soul. Breathe deep, kick some leaves, stretch your arms wide, and turn your face to the sky. Enjoy your stroll.
  6. Help someone less fortunate. With volunteerism down due to the pandemic, social service agencies are struggling to find volunteers to help prepare, serve, and/or deliver holiday meals. Cheer yourself up by helping bring some Thanksgiving joy to your neighbors who are homeless or can’t leave home. Contact your local homeless services, senior services agency, or faith-based organizations for ideas on where to volunteer.
  7. Keep yourself busy. The best remedy for sadness can be to distract yourself. Get a start on your Christmas presents by doing some crafts. Paint a room. Do a fall clean-up in your garden. Reorganize your closets. Practice an instrument. Read a book. Learn a new skill on YouTube. Take a nap.
  8. Do nothing. Over the years I have created a perfect holiday for myself, and it involves me doing nothing. My pandemic Thanksgiving will look just like my pre-pandemic holiday and I’m fine with that.

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