Thanksgiving movies and music exist—here's a few options

Promotional poster for John Hughes’ “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” (1987).

I’m sure that many of us spent last October watching scary movies to get into the Halloween spirit. Soon enough it’ll be time for Christmas movies to play on our screens and holiday music to be permanently crammed into our heads. However, with October and December so well defined by their holidays, the question is: what about Thanksgiving? Well, have no worries, assuming you had any to begin with, because I have news for you. Thanksgiving movies and music are out there if you know where to look. But where do you start? I think I can help with that.

A great place to start would be "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," since it’s probably the most famous Thanksgiving related special out there. I probably don’t have to get too into it—everybody knows "Peanuts," right? However, for those unfamiliar with the melancholy juvenile, the special centers around a young group of friends. One of them, Peppermint Patty, invites themselves over to the titular Charlie Brown’s place for Thanksgiving, and if you want to find out what happens next, along with the quirky humor that "Peanuts" has to offer, you can stream the special on AppleTV+.

Looking for a feature length, bonafide movie? "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" probably has you covered. It’s about a control freak, played by Steve Martin, who is desperate to get home for Thanksgiving. However, he must travel with an outgoing—some might even say annoying—character played by John Candy. It isn’t currently streaming for free on any service; however, if you’re interested in seeing a Thanksgiving comedy this November, it is available to rent.

Is there anything to keep the kids in your family gathering occupied? There is a family friendly cartoon currently streaming on Netflix called "Free Bird." The plot centers on two time-travelling turkeys who go back in time to stop the first Thanksgiving. Doing so would obviously stop generations of turkeys from being turned into dinner, so it is a no-brainer decision for Owen Wilson’s and Woody Harrelson’s turkey characters to go on this adventure, even if they don’t usually get along too well. If that sounds interesting to you then make sure to check it out.

Movies are well and good, but what is there for music lovers to enjoy? What kind exactly? If you’re into classic Christmas music, then you might be into “I’ve Got Plenty to be Thankful For” by Bing Crosby. Bing Crosby is not only noted for having the most successful Christmas song of all time, but the most successful song of all time, period. His version of “White Christmas” has sold an estimated 50 million copies internationally, being a success since the 1940s (1). If you’re more into country music then you might want to listen to “Thanksgiving Prayer'' by the country legend, Johnny Cash. If you're looking for something from this century then you might enjoy “Thanksgiving Song” by Mary Chapin Carpenter. It’s a direct title and an equally direct song about what the singer is grateful for. Another song that could technically fall into the Thanksgiving category is, surprisingly, “Jingle Bells.” While it is considered a Christmas song today, it was originally intended as a celebration of the November holiday (2). Even with knowledge of this, I’m sure that “Jingle Bells” will always remain a Christmas song to most.

Hopefully this list can help you get into the Thanksgiving spirit if that’s what you’re looking to do. If you’re not, then you might still find something to enjoy. If that’s not the case either, then I hope you enjoy your time to rest regardless.



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