Welcome to the Magic of Macy's

What’s New at Macy’s

The latest events, fashion, insider tips and more

All Articles // All Events

Celebrate the Magic of the Holiday Season With Macy's

November 17, 2017 | Events
Pinterest Tweet Facebook

Macy's is a captivating place to visit any time of year, but it’s especially magical during the holiday season when it serves as the backdrop to some of the most amazing holiday festivities and activities in the world—from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City to jovial in-store Santa Clauses, themed holiday windows, majestic tree lightings and more.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The 2017 holiday season officially kicks off with the 91st Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® on Thursday, November 23—a breathtaking event that draws visitors and television viewers from all over the world and entertains them with miles of spectacular floats, balloons, marching bands and performances. For some, the Thanksgiving holiday begins with seeing the giant character balloons get filled with helium on Wednesday, November 22—the day before the parade—from 3-10 pm, and culminates with the procession of balloons and floats along New York’s west side, from 77th St. and Central Park West to 34th St and 7th Avenue in front of Macy's Herald Square.

2017 Macy's Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade Poster

This year's Parade will showcase 17 giant character balloons; 28 legacy balloons, balloonicles, balloonheads and trycaloons; 26 floats; 1,100 cheerleaders and dancers; more than 1,000 clowns; and 12 marching bands and six performance groups, as well as many celebrity performers and Santa Claus—all sure to ignite excitement and holiday spirit in viewers. This year, four balloon characters will debut: Disney Frozen's Olaf , Illumination presents Dr. Seuss' The Grinch, PAW Patrol® and Jett from Super Wings™. The balloon lineup will also feature the return of Harold the Baseball Player, a legacy Macy's character featured in Twentieth Century Fox's holiday film classic, Miracle on 34th Street. In celebration of the film's 70th anniversary, the Harold heritage balloon has been recreated for this year's Parade, painted in hues of black, white and grey, to look exactly as it did on-screen during a memorable scene in the 1947 film. In addition, the famed spokesduck, The Aflac Duck, will premier as a balloonicle.

Aflac duck balloon at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Joining a large roster of returning floats this year will be five brand new ones: Everyone's Favorite Bake Shop by Entenmann's® (Sara Evans), Harvest in the Valley by Green Giant® (Lauren Alaina), Parade Day Mischief by SOUR PATCH KIDS® Candy (Nicky Jam), Shimmer and Shine by Nickelodeon (Jojo Siwa) and Universal Playground by Sprout® (Angelica Hale). A special float by Delta Air Lines will also debut to commemorate the season of togetherness through song, as more than 125 Macy's employees gather to form a cross-generational choir aboard the Macy's Singing Christmas Tree and sing an original song created for this moment.

Celebrities from various artistic spheres will join performance ensembles and marching bands from across the nation to provide dazzling entertainment. This year’s line-up of riveting performers will take to the streets of New York on board one of Macy's signature floating stages and perform at Herald Square. The stars include: 98 Degrees, Lauren Alaina, Cam, Sabrina Carpenter, Andra Day & Common, Sara Evans, Jimmy Fallon & The Roots, Flo Rida, Goo Goo Dolls, Kat Graham, Andy Grammer, Angelia Hale, Olivia Holt, Nicky Jam, Wyclef Jean, Bravo's Top Chef stars Padma Lakshmi and tom Colicchio, Dustin Lynch, Miss America 2018 Cara Mund, Leslie Odom Jr. and the cast and Muppets of Sesame Street, Bebe Rexha, Smokey Robinson, Jojo Siwa and more.

For more information, go to macys.com/parade or call the Parade hotline at 212-494-4495. Catch the TV broadcast on NBC from 9 am – 12 pm, ET/PT.

Read all about the 91st Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade here. 

Holiday Windows

Macy’s was the first department store to attract onlookers with windows featuring fabulous holiday displays. In 1874, R.H. Macy, the founder of Macy’s, staged window displays with a collection of porcelain dolls from all over the world and scenes from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The public flocked to see them. In 1899, the displays at Macy’s original 14th Street location began integrating animation. 

Macy’s has continued to build on the tradition with ever more grand displays that set the scene for the most wonderful time of the year. Every year, the company selects new themes for its animated windows. On Fri., Nov. 16 at 5:30 pm, Macy’s will unveil this year's holiday window displays—"The Perfect Gift Brings People Together" windows celebrating the spirit of the season. This year's windows cetner on the joy of sharing hoiday season festivities we those we love. Generations of visitors to Macy's Herald Square's six Broadway windows will find variations of their own holiday traditions mirrored in them. Movement and gently falling snow bring each scene to life.

2017 Holiday Window Launch at Macy's Herald Square

Believe and Make a Wish

Macy's has set up giant red letterboxes throughout the store where people can place letters they have written to Santa. With every letter, Macy's donates $1 to Make-a-Wish Foundation, up to $1 million to help grant the wishes of children with critical illnesses. Just drop your letter in one of the boxes or submit it online at macys.com/believe. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Macy's Believe campaign—since the launch of Believe in 2008, Macy's has donated more than $15 million, increasing the hope and happiness of wish kids and their families, volunteers, supporters, medical professionals and communities.


Remember the iconic 1947 movie “Miracle on 34th Street,” which let us all in on the fact that Macy’s is a second home for Santa? Well, during the holiday season, St. Nick still takes up residence in the Herald Square flagship store in a hut located in the enchanting Santaland on the 8th floor. Starting November 24th, adults and kids alike can visit him there and on the way to their meet-up, tour his scenic, interactive surroundings aboard the Macy's Santaland Express. Helpful Santa's little helpers point the way to a variety of sights and attractions, including Domino Sugar Bake Shoppe, the Aflac Ducks, The Enchanted Forest, Rainbow Bridge, Lionel Trains Industrial City, Santa's Workshop and Town Hall. At the One and Only Santa Claus's home, children tell the jolly old man what they would like for Christmas and receive a small keepsake to commemorate their experience.

In 1862, R.H. Macy, the founder of Macy’s, was the first to showcase an in-store Santa for kids to visit and the tradition has continued. This year, share your wishes with St. Nick and have your picture taken with him from Fri., Nov. 24 – Sun., Dec. 24, until 4 pm. This is a fabulous way to create a special memory. Check out the New York Santaland schedule here.

This year, visits with Santa are by reservation only. To make a reservation for Macy's Santaland at the Herald Square store please visit macys.com/santaland beginning on November 20 and for further information about the experience, contact Macy's Holiday Hotline at (212) 494-4495. There is only one appointment per customer and the Macy's Santaland experience is free and open to the public.

Holiday Lane

Also at Macy’s Herald Square: Holiday Lane on the 9th floor—the store’s festive Christmas décor and gift hotspot filled with everything from ornaments, nutcrackers and themed Santas to lushly adorned trees, festive linens and tableware. The collection of merchandise is a feast for the eyes and a font of gift-giving ideas; no visit to New York City at holiday time would be complete without a walk down Holiday Lane.

Be sure to meander through the Christmas-tree lined center aisle where dozens of trees capture a variety of holiday decorating styles—from whimsical to traditional.

Holiday Happenings at Macy's San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia and Atlanta

Be sure to check out Macy's 28th Annual Great Tree Lighting Ceremony in Union Square, San Francisco on Nov. 24, 2017 at 5:30 PM; view the flagship store's SPCA Holiday Windows (Fri., Nov. 17-Jan. 1, 2018) filled with adorable, adoptable animals; and tour Santaland on the 6th floor.

At Macy's State Street in Chicago, take in the Great Tree in the Walnut Room restaurant on the 7th floor—a 45-foot-tall tree featuring more than 2,000 ornaments, 6,600 sparkling lights and a magical animation; enjoy the Walnut Room's holiday menu (reservations are available on OpenTable); see the animated holiday windows; tour Santaland and the Holiday Lane on the 6th floor; and take a Holiday Traditions Tour, bookable through the store's Visitor Center.

At Macy's Center City in Philadelphia, you'll want to watch the Christmas Light Show in which more than 100,000 LED lights create fantastic holiday images; listen to a Wanamaker Organ Concert; walk through the 6,000-square-foot Dickens Village on the 3rd floor; and see the Holiday Windows.

Macy's Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta offers the Macy's 70th Annual Great Tree Lighting ceremony on Sun., Nov. 19, 2017 (see the illuminated Great Tree from Nov. 19, 2017 through Jan. 1, 2018) and rides on the Macy's Pink Pig train, which coasts along a track through a Priscilla storybook setting, on the upper-level parking deck of the store.


About the Author

Meet Keri Hanson

Wine. Food. Travel. Repeat.