This Thursday is Thanksgiving. For many of us, that means watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV, eating a delicious dinner and then trying to stay awake long enough to catch all the football games before nodding off from too much turkey.

Whatever tradition you look forward to most, though, odds are good that professional truck drivers play a role in making it happen.

Here are 5 ways truck drivers are making Thanksgiving 2014 possible:

1. Traveling Turkeys

Out of roughly 319 million Americans88% of us will be eating turkey on Thanksgiving. All told, we eat about 736 million pounds of turkey meat. That’s around 50 million turkeys!

Here’s the thing, though: Those birds don’t just fly to your dinner table (it’s way too hard to book flights around the holidays). So how do they get there? Truck drivers, of course!

One Trucking Industry website estimates that truck drivers deliver 16,600 FULL truckloads of Thanksgiving Day turkeys. So, just TRY to imagine your feast without truck drivers doing their part. Your Turkey Day would turn into Beef Jerky Day. No thanks!

2. Side Dish Delivery

While we’re on the subject, what are turkeys without sides?

From green beans and cranberries to yams and pumpkin pies, all the side dishes and desserts on the shelves at your local supermarket were delivered by truck drivers. Unfortunately, that includes all the ingredients in whatever this is supposed to be. But hey, truckers just drop the food off. They’re not responsible for what your Aunt Edna chooses to make it all into.

3. Parade Problems

Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a tradition in many homes. When most people think of the parade, they think of the giant balloons making their way through the streets of New York. But how does Macy’s make those balloons come to life?

The balloons are inflated with a mix of helium and air. To fill each balloon, it takes 90 minutes and, on average, 12,000 cubic feet of helium. That’s a lot of helium, so Macy’s needs the help of a helium tanker (click here to see a picture of the truck!) driven by a professional truck driver.

Truck drivers also get other important supplies to the big show. The bands that march in the parade, for example, rely on truck drivers to get their instruments and other equipment to the event.

So just think: Without these professional truck drivers, your favorite celebration would be a sad parade of deflated balloons being dragged quietly through the streets of New York. Thankfully, truck drivers bring joy to the parade each year!

4. Shopper Stopper

Whether you’re an in-the-trenches type of shopper or you refuse to leave your house the day after Thanksgiving, there’s no denying that shopping is becoming as much a part of Thanksgiving as the other traditions. The intense shopping wouldn’t be possible, though, without truck drivers.

For Black Friday shoppers, truck drivers help keep the shelves at all of your favorite retail stores stocked with the latest and greatest TVs, smart phones and other consumer products. Without truckers, the day after Thanksgiving would get even more competitive because there would be fewer products and eventually, the shelves would be empty!

For “Cyber Monday” shoppers — the people who prefer to shop online — truck drivers help deliver all those early holiday gifts. You know how hard it is to wait for the online store to process your order and send it on its way to your house? Just think how long it would take if the store had to deliver packages on foot!

5. Fueling Families

More than the traditions we celebrate each Thanksgiving, where we celebrate them matters to many of us. Let’s face it, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be what it is without friends and family.

That’s probably why last year’s AAA forecast estimated that 43.4 million Americans would travel on Thanksgiving, 38.9 million of them by automobile.

Over the river and through the woods, to the gas station we’d better go before we get stuck on the side of the road on our way to grandmother’s house!

Keeping gas stations supplied with plenty of fuel is just another way truck drivers are making Thanksgiving possible, this year and every year.

Now that you know what a big role truck drivers will play in making Thanksgiving 2014 possible, be sure to give thanks for the men and women out on the road as you enjoy your favorite traditions!

And if you want to do your part to help keep these traditions going, it all starts with getting your Commercial Driver License (CDL).