SAN ANTONIO -- Thanksgiving is over, and already attention turns to the holidays. On Black Friday, North Star Mall spent the day treating shoppers to a massive holiday parade featuring a very jolly special guest.

The Mall Holiday Parade featured performances from the Brackenridge High School marching band and the Robert E. Lee High School Allied Campus Theatre Group as it wound its way through the inside of the mall.

It’s part of a longstanding tradition of ringing in the holidays by surprising unsuspecting shoppers.

“It’s never too early to start the holiday spirit,” mall General Manager Brenda Crawford said. “It’s just something we feel is very important to bring to San Antonio every year.”

Black Friday isn't just about the savings and spectacle, though. Bill Harrison heads the Elf Louise project, an all-volunteer organization that gives holiday gifts to San Antonio children every year.

His group is using the parade as an opportunity to raise awareness for a radiothon at the mall on December 2 and 3, the proceeds for which will all go to buying gifts for kids.

“There’s nothing better than being the Santa Claus that puts the present in the hands of that lucky child,” Harrison said.

For all the noise and all the traffic, the parade seems to bring out the inner child in everyone. At the very least, it’s a fun reminder that the holidays are here.