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Best movies, music, shows for getting into the Thanksgiving spirit

This time of year, as lovely as it may be, brings a return of the heated debate: when is it time for Christmas music? While there are plenty of songs and movies available for people who believe the Christmas season starts on Nov. 1, there is a shortage of Thanksgiving-related media for those who want to give the holiday its dues. 

Here is a list of those movies, music and TV shows to make your search for Thanksgiving ambiance a little easier: 

“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” 

There’s nothing quite like “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” to kick off the holiday season. The 30-minute-long animated classic features all of the beloved Peanuts characters - Peppermint Patty, Linus, Lucy, Sally and the man himself, Charlie Brown. When Peppermint Patty invites herself and her friends over to the latter’s house, he has to prepare an entire Thanksgiving meal with the minimal cooking skills in his arsenal. The short film is adorable, humorous and full of infectious holiday spirit. 

“New Girl” Thanksgiving episodes 

The modern sitcom about a ditzy and upbeat woman who moves in with three guys is as beloved as its five Thanksgiving episodes. “Thanksgiving” (Season One, Episode Six), “Parents” (Season Two, Episode Eight), “Thanksgiving III” (Season Three, Episode 10), “Thanksgiving IV” (Season Four, Episode Nine) and “Last Thanksgiving” (Season Six, Episode Seven) all offer approximately 20 minutes of antics, laughter and holiday joy that the show’s cast of characters is known and loved for. 

"Thanksgiving in Sacramento" by Jon Brion

This short song from the soundtrack of “Lady Bird” is both the perfect culmination of the movie and the season. The array of instruments flow around each other in a slow, yet anticipatory dance. The alterations of descending and ascending lines from flutes, trumpets and plucked guitars all create the perfect Thanksgiving atmosphere, as well as the rest of the 2017 film’s score. 

“You’ve Got Mail” 

No one captures the spirit of the season quite like Nora Ephron, especially when her directorial style is combined with iconic on-screen lovebirds, played by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. While the movie isn’t centered around Thanksgiving, one of the pivotal scenes does take place on the holiday, and there is no better way to celebrate the end of fall than with any Ephron movie, including “Sleepless in Seattle,” “When Harry Met Sally…” and others. 

“Friends” Thanksgiving episodes 

Not only is now a good time to watch “Friends” for the beloved Thanksgiving episodes, but it is also a good way to honor star Matthew Perry in the wake of his recent death. From celebrity cameos to football games to turkeys on heads to Chandler-in-a-box, each “Friends” Thanksgiving episode is a feel-good celebration of the holiday and the people you choose to spend it with. 

"I've Got Plenty To Be Thankful For" by Bing Crosby

While the crooner is famously known for his Christmas music, Crosby’s repertoire also offers some Thanksgiving cheer. The swinging instrumental background along with the singer's velvety voice is the perfect reminder of the core mantra of the season. He confides that although he doesn’t own a yacht or regularly enjoys caviar, he finds things to be grateful for in a simple life: “Ears to hear with / Arms to hug with / Lips to kiss with / Someone to adore.”  

“Gilmore Girls” Thanksgiving episodes 

What better way to celebrate the end of autumn than with a classic fall show? While the show features many decadent holiday dinners and more than one inclusion of a Thanksgiving meal, the most iconic of these episodes is “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving” (Season Three, Episode Nine). The titular girls have to balance attending four dinners on Thanksgiving, allowing the witty and merry plot to unfold.  

“Brooklyn 99” Thanksgiving episodes 

Similar to many other sitcoms, “Brooklyn 99” features a Thanksgiving episode nearly every season. Each one is not only a wonderful way to see the squad celebrate their lives together, but they offer benchmarks by which to watch each character and relationship develop. The quirky, found-family dynamic that the show is beloved for is the highlight of these episodes, each one more feel-good than the last.  


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