Shana Corey

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

Posted on Updated on

Milly and the Macy’s Parade 

by Shana Corey, illustrated by Brett Helquist

Ages 8 & up, 40 pages


Milly and the Macy’s Parade is a delightful story about Milly’s idea to bring happiness to European immigrant families with a holiday parade. In 1924, Milly’s papa worked at the lovely Macy’s Department store in New York City. She loved finding treasures and played with toys at Macy’s. However, she noticed that some individuals appeared sad when they looked into the beautiful window displays. Papa and his coworkers missed the holidays from back home with instruments and caroling. Milly bravely told Mr.Macy himself that people were homesick and wanted a bit of everyone’s home to America. She proposed singing and strolling in the streets with a parade. Macy’s workers dressed and marched proudly in the parade on Thanksgiving day. Finally, people had a bit of their old country into an American celebration. The illustrations are beautiful and really capture a festive mood.

Milly and the Macy’s Parade is somewhat true. Mr. Macy died in 1877, which is long before the parade started in 1924. The parade idea wasn’t from a young girl, in fact it’s unclear where the idea originated from. The true story element is that the Macy employees themselves dressed and performed in the parade.


Facts about Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade: 

– More than 1,000 Macy employees marched in the first parade with many cultures and costumes. 
– It’s always been held on Thanksgiving Day, but the first year it was called Macy’s Christmas Parade. 
– Animals from Central Park Zoo including elephants, camels, and bears marched in the parade, but this stopped in 1927 when animals frightened children. 
– In 1927, the first Helium balloons replaced zoo animals. The balloons were produced by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The balloons suddenly burst at the parade’s finish. 
– In 1928, the balloons were redesigned with safety valves, so they could float for several days. Address labels were inside the balloon and lucky individuals could mail it back to Macy’s for a prize. 
– In 1934, Macy’s balloon designers work with Walt Disney for the first Mickey Mouse balloon. 
– In 1942- 1944, the parade was canceled due to World War II. The rubber balloons were donated as scrap rubber for the war effort. 
– In 1947, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is on national television. 
– The parade started at 145th Street and ended in front of Macy’s department store on 34th Street where Santa Claus welcomed the holiday. 
– In 1947, the parade now started at 77th Street and Central Park. 
– The parade charater with the most balloons is Snoopy. 
– Every year about 3 million people watch the parade in person and 50 million people watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on television. 
– In 2011, Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade marks its 85th anniversary. 
Macy’s: The Store. The Star. The Story. by Robert M. Grippo
Macy’s: The Store. The Star. The Story. by Robert M. Grippo
Fun interactive Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade site about everything from the history, parade route, balloon info, and more