The Macy's Thanksgiving parade kicks off the holiday season...and more importantly for hard-hit retailers this year it signals the beginning of the holiday shopping sprint from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Ever since I was a kid I've wanted to go to the parade in New York City. I remember seeing the movie, "Miracle on 34th Street" and was fascinated by the huge holiday parade. I really thought this was going to be my year to experience it in person. Well, there's always next year.

This year, due to the coronavirus, the New York City holiday tradition will look a whole lot different than it has in the past. The parade will still be broadcast on NBC, but the number of people will be reduced significantly, with social distancing, and participants and the parade watchers wearing masks. Also, segments of the parade will be prerecorded throughout the city according to NBC News.

The traditional 2.5-mile parade will also be reduced and this year won't include a large number of floats, marching bands, and celebrities. It's a big deal when high schools and college marching bands get invited to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and those that did get an invitation for 2020, will be invited back for 2021.

The biggest part of the parade is obviously the huge trademark balloons and they will return this year, but fewer of them. They also won't have the 80-100 handlers trying to keep them under control as they have in years past. Instead, organizers will be using a new system this year that uses a specially rigged vehicle that will control the balloons. We'll see how that goes...I'd expect chaos.

I guess the good news in all of this is that it hasn't been concealed. Several holiday parades, like the Schenectady Holiday Parade, have already been called off for this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is still hoping for a magical parade this year and hopes for a traditional mass gathering for the 2021 parade.



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