It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…No, It’s a Giant Hello Kitty?!

This Thursday is Thanksgiving, and an American tradition on Thanksgiving is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (see Cultural English 60).

Macy’s is a chain (business with many locations) of department stores in the U.S., selling anything from clothing and cosmetics to homewares (items used in the home, including furniture, home decorations, and items for the kitchen). A parade is a public celebration where people march (walk) along the street while other people on the side of the road are watching and cheering.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been held since 1924 and is shown on U.S. television each year. It’s best known for its floats (a flat surface attached to a truck with a display on it) and especially the giant (very big) helium (a very light gas, chemical symbol “He”) balloons that float (move above the ground) along the parade route (path).

First included in 1968, the Snoopy balloon has appeared more than any other character. Other popular balloons in the parade’s history include Mickey Mouse, Superman, Kermit the Frog, Betty Boop, and Hello Kitty. Every year, new balloons are added to include popular TV and movie characters. Check out this year’s lineup (group of people or things scheduled to appear).

Here’s some old footage (recording movie film) showing the parade in 1939:

And here’s a recent Macy’s video showing what goes into creating those giant balloons, focusing on the “balloonatics,” the people who create those balloons and make them float. (“Balloonatics” is a made-up (not real) term, combining the words “balloon” and “fanatics,” who are people who like something a lot and think about it all the time.)

We have a lot to be thankful for this year. We are grateful that new listeners continue to find us and we are particularly thankful for our old listeners, who have stuck with us (remained with us) this year.

From all of us here at, Happy Thanksgiving!

~ Jeff and Lucy

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