A pair of presidents formalized Thanksgiving, the magic of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, low gas prices, stocks rising, a comet heads for the sun

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A pair of presidents formalized Thanksgiving

Sure, the Pilgrims are credited with starting the tradition of Thanksgiving in America. But declaring Thanksgiving Day a formal holiday on the fourth Thursday in November required a pair of presidents: Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was Lincoln who issued an 1863 proclamation calling on Americans to "set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving," partly to celebrate victories in the then-raging Civil War. Decades later, Roosevelt and Congress acted to establish Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November, in part to lengthen the Christmas shopping season.

The magic of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade kicks off this morning at 9:00 a.m., and about 50 million Americans are likely to tune in to at least part of the parade, which is not only a family tradition for many, but also the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season. Have you ever wondered who the masterminds are behind the massive balloons? The magic starts in New Jersey, at the Macy's Parade Studio, where 28 full-time studio employees create and care for the dozens of balloons and floats that will bask in the spotlight today. Check out the video above to learn more. The balloons may be grounded if weather conditions are too windy.

Thanksgiving gas prices lowest since 2010

As families take to the road for the Thanksgiving holiday, they have something to celebrate: gasoline prices that are the lowest for the week since 2010, according to Energy Department price watchers. "Despite this week's increase in regular-grade gasoline prices to an average of $3.29 per gallon, the price of gasoline is lower than three months ago, 14 cents less than a year ago," the Energy Information Administration reports. Lower prices should be critical to the 38 million that AAA predicts will travel by car through Sunday.

History: Appetite for stocks rises after Turkey Day

Turkey Day has a way of increasing investors' appetite for U.S. stocks. In fact, investors tend to gobble up stocks and push prices higher from the end of Thanksgiving week through year's end, according to data compiled by Bespoke Investment Group. Going back to 1945, the broad Standard & Poor's 500-stock index has posted average gains of 1.8%, with positive returns 71% of the time in the period from Thanksgiving to year's end, Bespoke says.

Thanksgiving comet speeds toward the sun

Comet ISON, a shopping-mall-sized chunk of dust and ice that makes its closest approach to the sun today, is refusing to show its hand. Researchers know it will skim roughly 1 million miles from the fiery solar surface around 1:30 p.m. ET, but what will happen next is the subject of feverish scientific speculation. If the comet is still intact for its close encounter, there's a good chance it will become visible to the naked eye, perhaps as a glowing arc across the pre-dawn sky. On the other hand, if ISON disintegrates before its embrace with the sun, most of us on Earth will see … nothing.

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