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Best Thanksgiving TV Specials for 2010

Updated on November 21, 2011
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is in it's 84th year in 2010.  This photo dates from 1934, the first year Mickey Mouse appeared in the parade, then called the Macy's Christmas Parade.
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is in it's 84th year in 2010. This photo dates from 1934, the first year Mickey Mouse appeared in the parade, then called the Macy's Christmas Parade.
Miley Cyrus aboard the Bolt float in 2008.
Miley Cyrus aboard the Bolt float in 2008.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

One of the most famous parades in the world, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will celebrate it's 84th year in 2010. Though known now as the premier Thanksgiving Day parade, it was not the first. Macy's rival store, Gimbel, hosted the first Thanksgiving Day parade in 1820 in Philadelphia. Six years later came Macy's parade and has gone strong since.

One of the most well-known features of the parade is the giant helium balloons. They change year after year, bringing to the parade characters which are popular in that year. In 2010, you can see balloons based on Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Kung Fu Panda, KaiKai and Kiki, and Yes Virginia. Falloons and balloonicles this year will feature the Kool-Aid man, and there will be floats with various themes such as Mount Rushmore's American Pride, Morton Salt Home Baked Goodness, Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure, Homewood Suites On the Roll Again, Office Max Elves Raise the Roof.

Another popular part of the parade is the performers. In 2010 you will be entertained by Kanye West, Jessica Simpson, Gladys Knight, India.Arie, Big Time Rush, Arlo Guthrie (author of the Thanksgiving staple "Alice's Restaurant"), Betty Buckley, Ann Hampton Callaway, Miranda Cosgrove, Gloriana, America's Got Talentwinner Michael Grimm, Keri Hilson, Eric Hutchinson, Juanes, Victoria Justice, Mannheim Steamroller, Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih, Power Rangers Samurai, Crystal Shawanda, Joan Rivers and Melissa Rivers.

The parade begins at 9 AM Eastern and runs for 3 hours on NBC.

Thanksgiving and football have long gone hand-in-hand, as evidenced by this circa 1900 postcard.
Thanksgiving and football have long gone hand-in-hand, as evidenced by this circa 1900 postcard.

Thanksgiving Day Football

While the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade dominates Thanksgiving morning while turkeys and pies bake, football dominates the afternoon and evening.  Great football games are waged on Thanksgiving, and some have even joked that Thanksgiving meal only takes 15 minutes to consume because that's how long halftime lasts!  

Three top match-ups bring football fans thrills and jeers this Thanksgiving.  Here's a quick run-down of these games.

  1. New England Patriots (8-2) at Detroit Lions (2-8).  This looks to be a hands-down easy win for the Pats, but on Thanksgiving, who knows.  Perhaps the Lions will pull off the upset at home and have a great game to give thanks for.  Game starts at 12:30 on CBS.
  2. New Orleans Saints (7-3) at Dallas Cowboys (3-7).  The Super Bowl champs look to close in on Atlanta's one-game lead with a win in Dallas.  Like the first game, this one appears to be an easy win for the Saints, but maybe the Cowboys will be the ones doing a little thanksgiving.  Game starts at 4:15 on Fox.
  3. Cincinnati Bengals (2-8) at New York Jets (8-2).  The Bengals go on the road looking for their third win of the season against a fierce Jets team.  Another seemingly mismatched game ends the day of Thanksgiving football.  Game starts at 8:20 on NFL Network.

For the Family

NBC kicks off a day and night full of specials for the whole family. Starting with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, NBC follows the parade with The National Dog Show presented by Purina from noon to 3 PM. John O'Hurley again hosts one of the oldest and most prestigious dog shows in the country. The National Dog Show is one of only five dog shows which are "benched", meaning the public can interact with the exhibitors.

After the dog show, enjoy a leisurely mean (and football perhaps) before returning to NBC at 8 PM for Taylor Swift's one-hour concert special, Taylor Swift: Speak Now. The special features performances from New York to Los Angeles as well as behind-the-scenes action in the recording studio, video shoot, autograph signings and dodging the papparazzi.

Then at 9 PM, Matt Lauer hosts his Thanksgiving special, NBC's People of the Year. During the next two hours, Lauer sits down and speaks with some of the hottest and most controversial people of 2010. Guests include Chilean Miner rescuer Brandon Fisher, "Hero Dad" James Jones, Mosque developer Sharif el-Gamal, LeBron James, Kim Kardashian, Justin Timberlake and Susan Boyle.


ABC also offers family entertainment in two original specials.  The first, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, is another staple of Thanksgiving television programming.  Airing at 8 PM, the Peanuts gang gathers around Charlie Brown's ping pong table for their feast.  The special also features a bonus cartoon called "This is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers."

At 9:30 PM, Beyonce takes fans on a world tour featuring performances in 32 countries.  Special guests will include Kanye West and Jay-Z.


Educational (or not)

Discovery Channel brings back Punkin' Chunkin', a special about 120 teams that compete annually in the Punkin' Chunkin' World Championships.  Adam and Jamie from Mythbusters host the special this year.  Between those two and the crazy contraptions the teams design to shoot their pumpkins the furthest, Punkin' Chunkin' promises to be entertaining.  The program will air at 8 PM on both Discovery Channel and Discovery Science.


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    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 6 years ago from Minnesota

      Wow, lots of good shows on thanksgiving indeed. I always have to watch Charlie brown thanksgiving. It's a tradition for me. Loved this fun hub.

    • cvanthul profile image

      cvanthul 6 years ago from Florida

      Hey Minnetonka! Good to see you. Thanks for stopping by to read this hub. In my house, with a child, we'll probably watch Charlie Brown too. He also wants to watch Punkin' Chunkin'! Something about big gun-like contraptions shooting pumpkins and watching them splat is fascinating to a 7-year-old boy! Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 6 years ago

      ..I was just reading your profile - I am so very proud of you - you are quite the renaissance lady!!!!!

      Although the Canadian Thanksgiving was about a month ago - it's having nice people like you in my hub life who take the time to support me which is a way of surely being thankful every day!!!!!! I love this hub - you have put so much time and effort into it - a true labor of labor - and also entertaining and educational at the same time - please have a safe and happy Holiday - to you and your family!

    • cvanthul profile image

      cvanthul 6 years ago from Florida

      Thank you so much, epigramman! A happy holiday season to you and yours as well. I hope you have a wonderful and safe one.

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