The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade has been a part of my life since before I can remember. I've always sort of took for granted the unusual nature of this particular American tradition but when you take a step back, you realize how truly odd it is. Since 1924, the department store has enlisted folks to hold on for dear life to giant balloons of pop-culture characters as they pull them down the streets of Manhattan to the awe of (usually) freezing crowds. Having lived in the New York area my entire life, I'm actually kind of ashamed I've never gone to see the parade in person but every year, without fail, I watch on TV. Here's some shots of the parade from yesteryear. Take a moment to consider whether our modern balloons are less, more, or equally bizarre.