New York Santas
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Vintage Photos of Christmas Parades From When You Were a Kid

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New York Santas
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Christmas on Parade

A parade is fun anytime of year, but it's something special at Christmastime. There's the excitement of seeing Santa, of course, and the thrill of being bundled up in the cold as marching bands, colorful floats, and decked out denizens glide past, too. Since most of us likely won't be able to enjoy parades the same way this year thanks to the pandemic, take a look at what some of the biggest Christmas and holiday parades in the country have looked like since the 1930s.


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The program for the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, California for January 1st, 1936
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1936

If the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City marks the beginning of the Christmas season, the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, marks it's end on Jan. 1. The Rose Parade has been held annually since 1890, with the exception of 1942, 1943, 1945, and 2021.


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The Marx Bros
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1938

In Los Angeles, it isn't Christmas without the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade, which began in 1928 as a marketing promotion for merchants along Hollywood Boulevard. The parade, known as the Santa Claus Lane Parade, quickly grew in popularity and became an annual spectacle packed with stars of the day like the Marx Brothers, who appeared sans makeup in 1938.


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Santa Claus Balloon in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
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1941

Santa's helpers get him back into the air during the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The parade, which was first held in 1924, marks the unofficial start of the Christmas holiday season.


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Santa Claus in Convertible in Parade
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1948

Baltimore businessman Harry Heim purchased a mill in Savage, Maryland, and converted it into a Christmas ornament factory in a bid to turn it and the town into a year-round holiday-themed tourist attraction. In 1948, the town celebrated its newfound status with a parade and Santa. (Heim couldn't make it a success and sold out in 1951.)


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Parade Crowd
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1951

If there's one truism about Christmas parades, it's this: Kids will get excited and at least one brave youngster will attempt to make a break for Santa. This youngster at the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade almost succeeded.


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Santa Monica Christmas Parade, 1956
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1956

Santa puts in an appearance with two lucky youngsters aboard the Santa Monica City College float at the Santa Monica, California, Christmas Parade. Just a guess, but we bet those youngsters asked Santa for a lot of Superman toys.


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Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center
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New York Santas
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Christmas In Little Italy
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1974

The residents of Manhattan's Lower East Side take in the spectacle of the Little Italy Christmas Parade as it makes its way through the narrow downtown streets. The huge pile of candy-filled stockings aboard the float tempts youngsters in the crowd.


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Hollywood Christmas Parade
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1977

It may just be the camera angle or the fact that this photo was shot in black and white instead of color, but there's something just slightly creepy about this picture of Big Boy, snapped during the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade.


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97th Tournament of Roses Parade
Getty Images/Staff/Hulton Archive

1986

Every year, it seems like the parade floats in the Tournament of Roses parade become more elaborate. And the floats aren't just sponsored by big-name companies. This big dragon, dubbed "Time for Tea," was created by the Bakery, Confectionery & Tobacco Workers Union.


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American actress and comedian Roseanne Barr and husband American actor and comedian Tom Arnold
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1992

Remember when comedian Roseanne Barr was married to actor Tom Arnold? (Yeah, neither do we.) Back in 1992, the couple were a hot item, they were among the invited guests appearing in the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade.

Santa Claus Riding Motorcycle in Parade
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Shipwrecked, Polish American String Band Division, at Mummers Parade on New Year day, Philadelphia,
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2011

In Philadelphia, the holiday season concludes with the annual New Year's Day Mummers Parade. An annual event since 1901, the tradition of raucous costumed and musical public displays has its roots in colonial-era America.


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Annual Christmas Parade Of Boats Floats In Fort Lauderdale
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2018

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the water is where it's at. More than 100 watercraft decked out in lights and holiday decor took part in the 47th annual Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade along the Intercoastal Waterway.


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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
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2020

Santa and his helpers had to take extra precautions at this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade thanks to the ongoing pandemic, but he still brought a colorful and merry beginning to the annual Christmas season kickoff.


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