On Thursday morning, families will begin their gatherings with an annual tradition of watching the "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2016" on television or live streaming online, just before the NFL football games and exciting Black Friday shopping starts. The annual parade features a wide variety of attractions including colorful balloons, captivating floats, and entertaining performances. Not only that but each year the parade is capped off by the time-honored tradition of Santa Claus arriving in his sleigh to wish "Seasons Greetings" to all those in attendance, as well as those viewing the Macy's parade live online or on TV.

Here's how to watch the "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" via live stream online feed or by television for free on Thursday.

About the 2016 parade

This year's parade is celebrating a whopping 90 years of the annual tradition. For nine decades, the parade has been a fixture of American culture arriving on the Thanksgiving holiday. Each year, the celebration seems to become grander with newer, flashier character balloons, impressive, floats and more stars added to the lineup.

Among this year's talent in the parade lineup will be Sarah McLachlan, Michelle Carter, Laurie Hernandez, Kelsea Ballerini, De La Soul, Brett Eldredge, Aloe Blacc, Regina Spektor, Tony Bennett, Claressa Shields, and The Muppets.

Another well-known New York City attraction, The Rockettes, will also be a part of the entertainment!

Balloons are also well represented at this year's parade, just as in year's past.

Viewers can expect to see characters including Hello Kitty, Pillsbury Doughboy, Pikachu, Spongebob Squarepants, Thomas the Tank, Paddington, Ronald McDonald, Angry Birds, and the one, the only, Charlie Brown in this year's parade!

The parade also brings together a variety of talented marching bands along with dazzling floats to bring plenty of holiday cheer to everyone in attendance and watching from home.

How to watch on television

The "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" goes live as of 9 a.m. Eastern Time on Thursday morning. NBC will be showing the telecast with Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, and Al Roker anchoring the annual parade. To watch, viewers will need to use their NBC affiliate channel on their cable or television provider.

There's always the less costly method of investing in a digital antenna to pick up over-the-air transmissions for local affiliate stations. This will provide free telecasts from the likes of CBS, NBC, FOX, and ABC, depending on the viewing region.

How to watch live online

It's also possible to watch the "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" 2016 edition live streaming online.

NBC is part of the Sling TV service's second-tier channel package called "Sling TV Blue." With the service, viewers can watch the live telecast from NBC live streaming on a compatible device. The best news is that Sling is offering free one-week trials to new signups.

Another cool aspect with this year's parade is that the Verizon YouTube channel will present an amazing 360-degree live stream experience for viewing this year's parade! This will give viewers watching at home on various devices an exclusive look all around the parade as floats, balloons, and performers move down the parade route!