Aside from the football games and trademarked desserts made by that one treasured relative, there’s nothing more satisfying after a Thanksgiving meal than sitting down and watching some holiday television specials and episodes. Although
Christmas holiday specials are equally treasured and an enjoyable part of the holiday season (and you should absolutely start binging them the day after Turkey Day), there’s something about Thanksgiving episodes that can calm all the after-dinner political talk and reaffirm the value of family.
Perhaps it’s the lessons of togetherness we learn from classic characters such as Charlie Brown or Arthur
. Or the reminder from the Rugrats that Thanksgiving (or as they say, “Hanksgiving”) is about more than the turkey. And some turkeys, like the one in PAW Patrol, have to reach new heights to teach a lesson to an entire town. Maybe it’s just the nostalgia of watching Thanksgiving television specials while being overly stuffed on the couch together.
Whatever the reason, the following episodes and specials are some of the best to gobble up as a family to get in the Thanksgiving spirit. No matter how old or young your child is, or which streaming platforms you have, there’s something here for every family.
Puppy Dog Pals: “Turkey on the Town/Friendship Feast”
In the first half of Season 3, Episode 3, Chloe wants to draw a picture of a turkey, so Bingo and Rolly set out to find one for her to use as a model. In the second portion of the episode, “Friendship Feast,” Rolly scampers about trying to find his favorite dog food to share at the holiday dinner, and Cupcake tries to figure out what she’s grateful for.
Watch Puppy Dog Pals on Disney+. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Gobble, gobble, gobble good grief! It’s Charlie Brown's holiday season again, kicking off with
for Halloween, followed by It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown . Tune in as Woodstock, Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Franklin, Lucy van Pelt, Linus van Pelt, Peppermint Patty, and Sally Brown try to pull off the perfect harvest. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving for free from Nov. 18 to Nov. 19 on Apple TV+. Sago Mini Friends: “Happy Thankful Day”
In the newly released special “Happy Thankful Day,” while preparing for a special Sagoville festival, Harvey and Robin accidentally end up in Loomington — a town without gratitude. It’s an odd situation since all Harvey and his friends do is express their true thankfulness for all things, big and small.
Sago Mini Friends is based on the award-winning Sago Mini World app, developed by Sago Mini. The Sago Mini Friends series is about an adorable nod to gratitude, featuring Harvey the floppy-eared dog, and his best friends, Jinja the cat, Jack the rabbit, and Robin the bird. Watch Sago Mini Friends on Apple TV+. Garfield's Thanksgiving
You and the kids may be able to indulge this Thanksgiving, but not Garfield! In the 1989 animated special
, the food-loving cat is put on a diet by his veterinarian, Dr. Liz Wilson. His owner, Jon, falls for the vet and invites her over for Thanksgiving dinner. Garfield tries to get in line with his diet and eats half a leaf of lettuce for lunch. But when he tries to raid the refrigerator, he’s stopped by Odie. Meanwhile, Jon has no clue on how to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner, including prepping the turkey! Garfield's Thanksgiving You can purchase Garfield’s Thanksgiving on Amazon Prime and iTunes. Arthur: “An Arthur Thanksgiving”
An Arthur Thanksgiving,” Arthur and his friends save Thanksgiving. The day is full of surprises; from a loophole in the annual Thanksgiving parade that Arthur’s classmates were preparing for to Pal going missing. There’s also an unexpected visit from Aunt Minnie, but fortunately for Arther’s dad, he had “room for an extra plate or two” to accommodate all of the extra Elwood City dinner guests. Watch “An Arthur Thanksgiving” on the PBS Kids Prime Video Channel, which can be accessed with an Amazon Prime subscription. A Looney Tunes Thanksgiving
It’s the holidays, so why not get a little looney!
A Looney Tunes Thanksgiving is a compilation of a few seasonal episodes, starting with “Bugs Bunny's Thanksgiving Diet.” In this classic 1979 cartoon, Bugs plays a dietitian sharing some advice to his foodie friends. One note he shared was the dietary benefits of carrots. But friends like Yosemite Sam, who prefer rabbit meat are not very receptive of that health tip. Nor is Wile E. Coyote who is obsessed with Road Runner or Sylvester who longs for a Tweety Bird sandwich. After you’re done with Bugs, watch “Daffy Duck's Thanks-for-giving Special.” Watch A Looney Tunes Thanksgiving on Amazon Prime. PAW Patrol: “Pups Save Thanksgiving”
In the Season 5 episode, “Pups Save Thanksgiving,”
the turkey for Adventure Bay’s City Hall Thanksgiving feast is stolen by Mayor Humdinger and his kittens, when he doesn’t get an invite from Mayor Goodway. But he doesn’t just steal the turkey, he fills it with helium and the cats get stuck inside! The PAW Patrol crew are called to save the day and bring the flying bird down. This is one of the few episodes where you can catch Ryder and Robo-Dog exercising their cooking skills and baking pies. And what’s a Thanksgiving celebration in Adventure City without a game of Hot Potato! Watch PAW Patrol on Amazon Prime and Paramount+. The Care Bears’ Grams Bear's Thanksgiving Surprise
In the 1986 Thanksgiving special,
Grams Bear's Thanksgiving Surprise, Grams Bear and the other Care Bears get together for the holidays. But to make sure everything is smooth sailing, they’ll have to stop the evil Sour Sam from ruining Thanksgiving with his crabby apple pies and infecting the entire town. By the end of the special, they’re successful of course thanks to Grams Bear’s goody-goody, happy pies. In other words, good pie crust and filling save the day! Watch Care Bears’ Gram Bear’s Thanksgiving Surprise on YouTube. Rugrats: “The Turkey Who Came To Dinner”
In the Season 4 episode, “The Turkey Who Came To Dinner,” the Pickles household is getting ready for Thanksgiving while the Rugrats devise a plan to save the live turkey from being dinner! Lou won the bird in the Senior Center's Thanksgiving Cribbage Cavalcade where he works. Despite the shenanigans, the kids also learn the true meaning of “Hanks-giving,” “Nakie Americans,” and Tommy learns Thanksgiving dinner does not include Reptar cereal. But ironically, that’s exactly what they end up having and the turkey isn’t eaten after all.
Watch Rugrats on Hulu. Animaniacs: “Turkey Jerky”
This long-time favorite animated show gives Turkey Day its own whacky twist. In Season 1, Episode 46, the Native American Warners try to protect their pet turkey, Mr. Gobbles, from the pilgrim hunter, Miles Standish, who wants to do what everyone wants to do with the bird on Thanksgiving — cook it and eat it for dinner! There’s also a twist when that same pet turkey has an egg that unexpectedly hatches into a bluebird!
Critics say the episode is most likely a parody of P.D. Eastman's book Are You My Mother? Watch Animaniacs on Hulu. Teen Titans: “Thanksgiving”
In the 2014 episode, the Teen Titans are preparing to host their guest of honor, Batman. But Raven has an unexpected Thanksgiving guest when her father, Trigon (who is a demon) shows up for dinner. Meanwhile, Robin’s dinner plans take a turn for the worst when the meal is devoured by rats (who also invited their extended family) that Beast Boy invited. The titans try to turn it around and make the best Thanksgiving dinner they possibly could, even if — spoiler alert! — that means turning the guest of honor into a turkey.
Watch Teen Titans on Max. A Winnie The Pooh Thanksgiving
Christopher Robin, Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Owl, Rabbit, and Gopher come together in the Hundred Acre woods to give thanks in this 1998 television special. And everyone bought plates! Piglet provided the acorns, Gopher supplied the lemonade, Tigger brought the ice cream, and Pooh gifted the honey, of course. But when Rabbit comes around, he tells the group that their dinner is lacking with some Thanksgiving essentials such as cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and a turkey! Rabbit sends them on a scavenger hunt to find these items.
Watch A Winnie The Pooh Thanksgiving on Amazon Prime. Olivia The Pig: “Olivia Talks Turkey”
In “Olivia Talks Turkey,” Olivia and her friends are getting ready for Thanksgiving. Olivia’s fine turkey talk includes bringing a pet turkey into her life. But her mom and dad won’t let her keep it. Luckily, Olivia knows someone who’s also a great turkey talker and who has wanted a pet turkey her whole life — Mrs. Hoggenmuller! Olivia is always up for fun, if it's at school, at home, or at a friend's house!
Olivia The Pig is based on a children’s book by Farrah McDoogle and Jared Osterhold. Watch Olivia The Pig on YouTube. Steven Universe: “Gem Harvest”
Thanksgiving itself doesn’t exist in the world of
Steven Universe, but the episode “Gem Harvest” (Season 4, Episode 8) is very clearly based on Turkey Day. In the episode, Steven visits the barn and meets a pilot who has landed there unexpectedly. It turns out to be his uncle, and the two reconnect and talk about family tradition. Watch Steven Universe on Max, Hulu, and Cartoon Network. Doug: “Doug’s Thanksgiving”
Who doesn’t want to watch a nostalgic show around the holidays? If you want to share
Doug with your kids, try Season 2, Episode 7. Bill Bluff’s PR team tells him he should have Thanksgiving dinner with an average (boring) Bluffington family in order to boost his image. Doug’s family is selected and their usual Turkey Day plans get ruined, and Doug takes it upon himself to set everything right. Watch Doug on Disney+.
This article was originally published on
November 4, 2021