Thanksgiving entertainment options to watch instead of football

Rose Bak

Football is awesome, but these classics really represent the best — and worst — of the holiday.

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Thanksgiving will likely be different this year, but one thing that is always the same for me: my Thanksgiving TV line-up. Although I rarely watch TV or movies, each holiday I make sure to get these three classics in, no matter what.

If you’re looking for something to get you into the Thanksgiving spirit, be sure to check these out:

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A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

I’ve been watching this animated classic ever since it was released in 1973. This sweet cartoon demonstrates the importance of friendships and gave us a model for “friendsgiving” long before we heard the term coined on the show “Friends”.

The premise is that Charlie Brown’s pushy friend, Peppermint Patty, invites all their friends over to share a “traditional Thanksgiving dinner”. Since Charlie Brown is a kid, his cooking is not all it could be. He works with his friend Linus and his faithful dog Snoopy to make a delicious dinner of popcorn, toast, jelly beans, and pretzels.

The best part of the episode is when Snoopy gets into a fight with a lawn chair when he tries to get chairs out of the garage to set up around the dinner table. Sure I’m a grown woman, but I crack up every time I see that scene.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will make you smile, guaranteed.

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“Pangs”, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The eighth episode of the cult favorite show’s fourth season features another version of “friendsgiving” while reminding us of the troubled history of Thanksgiving.

When a construction project disturbs an old mission that was buried during an earthquake, the spirit of a Native American warrior is released — and he wants revenge for what happened to his people. He comes to attack on what is coincidentally Thanksgiving Day.

There’s an excellent scene where Spike cuts through the white liberal guilt that Buffy and her friends are feeling about fighting the Native American warrior and reminds them that they are a conquering nation.

There are many great comedic lines in this episode and both Anya and Spike really shine. But the best line might be when Buffy laments the fact that their Thanksgiving was ruined. Xander replies:

“I don’t know. It kinda seemed right to me. A bunch of anticipation, a big fight, and now we’re all sleepy.”

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Home for the Holidays

This 1995 movie has an incredible cast that includes Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, Holly Hunter, and Robert Downey Jr., among others.

The movie follows a middle-aged woman named Claudia who comes home to her parents’ house for Thanksgiving the week after losing her job, breaking up with her boyfriend, and finding out her teenage daughter is planning to lose her virginity.

Claudia struggles with her martyr sister, her wacky parents, her gay brother, and the enormous weight of expectations associated with a family holiday. The Thanksgiving dinner scene is every awkward family holiday meal, with people talking over each other, siblings pushing each other’s buttons, someone giving a speech that no one cares about, and a mom who just wants a “nice family holiday”.

What are your holiday must-watch shows? Share in the comments.

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Rose Bak is a freelance writer who lives in Portland, Oregon with her family and special needs dogs. She writes on a variety of topics including local news, homelessness, poverty, relationships, yoga, and aging. She is also a published author of romantic fiction. For more of Rose's work, visit her website at rosebakenterprises.com or follow her on social media @AuthorRoseBak.

Portland, OR
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