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The Doughboy's Thanksgiving Morning Tradition: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®

Updated November 18, 2020
The Pillsbury Doughboy Balloon at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
It’s Thanksgiving morning, and you know what to do: Turn on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, of course!

For many of us, Thanksgiving morning is about more than just getting ready for the big meal (and deciding which pair of stretchy pants to wear, too). It’s about being with family for the kickoff to the holiday season, cuddled up on comfy couches clad in cozy jammies, and watching the TV as larger-than-life balloons fly high among the skyscrapers of New York City’s streets.

When you were a kid, you might remember sitting right there in front of the TV, Mom and Dad bustling around in the background, everyone gathering together at the table later that day to a sprawling Thanksgiving dinner spread that seemed to magically appear out of nowhere. Nowadays, you might be the one who spends more time in the kitchen than in the living room, the sounds of marching bands in the distance accompanying your Thanksgiving meal prep. And yet, you still find as much delight today in seeing your own little ones watch the Pillsbury Doughboy balloon float across the screen—licking their fingers clean of cinnamon roll icing or sweet biscuit crumbs—as you did when you sat there yourself years ago.

Stock Up for Your Slow Morning
Stock Up for Your Slow Morning
Stock up now on our new sweet biscuits so come Thanksgiving morning, breakfast is as easy as can be.

This year the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will look a little different. To help keep everyone safe the celebration has been reimagined. Larger-than-life balloons (including the Doughboy Balloon), dazzling floats, and performances will be showcased live in from 34th street. Don’t worry! You can still count on curling up to watch the show while enjoying Pillsbury favorites with your family live on NBC at 9 a.m. (all time zones) on November 26th.

The Doughboy Balloon, Then and Now

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade made its debut in the 1920s, when many of the employees at Macy’s were first-generation immigrants. They wanted to celebrate the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving with a type of festival their European parents had loved. The first Macy’s holiday parade was held in 1924, and since then has grown exponentially to include more than 60 balloon variations (with fun names like “balloonicles” and “trycallons”).

The giant Pillsbury Doughboy balloon had his own debut in 2009 and in the past 10 years, we think he’s only gotten better with age!

Pillsbury Doughboy balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Did You Know?
Did You Know?
  • 54: Length, in feet, of the Doughboy balloon
  • 90: The number of minutes it takes to inflate a large parade balloon
  • 2: Macy’s ranking, worldwide, among consumers of helium (only the U.S. government consumes more!)
  • 14: The total number of helium character balloons in the 2020 Macy’s Parade

What to Eat While You Watch

Your Thanksgiving morning viewing party deserves a special Thanksgiving morning breakfast! Pair your family’s living room festivities with any of these delicious Doughboy-approved recipes.