8 Favorite Thanksgiving TV Specials Well Worth a Re-Watch


When it comes to the holidays, nothing gets you into the spirit quite like the right holiday-themed viewing. This is just as much the case with Thanksgiving as it is Halloween or Christmas, so it’s no surprise that people look forward to watching their favorite Thanksgiving-themed TV specials all over again as a way to get ready for turkey day.

The following are just a few of the specials and classic Thanksgiving episodes we look forward to revisiting again and again every year. All of the staples of great classic holiday television are represented – turkey, stuffing, and, of course, the magical resolution of even the most complicated family issues in 22-45 minutes.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

When most people think of iconic Thanksgiving television broadcasts that have been widely loved for decades, this one tops millions of lists. That’s because it’s the quintessential Thanksgiving classic. It’s entertaining, it’s family-friendly, and it’s timeless in its ability to appeal to everyone, from grandma and grandpa to the littlest viewers of all. Join Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, and – of course – Charlie Brown as they celebrate Thanksgiving together in the heartwarming way only they can.

Family Ties

Fans of the Keaton family no doubt fondly remember the time hippie parents Elyse and Steven got themselves arrested at an anti-nuke rally. They wound up spending one Thanksgiving in jail as a result. Remember: “No Nukes Is Good Nukes!”


Anyone familiar with the cultural touchstone that is Friends would expect their special Thanksgiving episodes to be epic, and it certainly delivered in the quirky, madcap way that only Friends could. Who could forget the time Joey put a turkey on his head, the time Ross had to correctly name all of the states, or the time Rachel failed miserably at making a trifle? Relive all these iconic moments, and more, with a second, third, or fiftieth viewing of the series’ Thanksgiving episodes.

Happy Days

Happy Days is classic television at its finest, so it makes sense that its Thanksgiving episode is well-remembered and widely re-watched every holiday season. Remember how upset Marion got when all her entire family wanted to do was watch football? Remember how hard you laughed at her hilarious retelling of the first Thanksgiving that found all your favorite cast members playing the parts?

The Simpsons

Here we have a show that’s quite famous for delivering when it comes to truly memorable holiday episodes, and its best Thanksgiving episode is no exception. Relive Bart’s famous holiday rampage in “Bart vs. Thanksgiving” all over again, and breathe a sigh of relief when everything – of course – turns out just fine in the end over a delightful family meal, proving that even in Springfield nothing’s more important than family.

WKRP in Cincinnati

While there are a lot of shows out there that are well celebrated for the sheer quality of all their collective Thanksgiving episodes, WKRP in Cincinnati’s “Turkeys Away” is arguably the very best Thanksgiving episode of them all. It’s positively packed with quotable gems and gags that will make you laugh so hard you can’t breathe. If you’ve never seen it, definitely look it up and experience turkey day the Cincinnati radio way.

The Cosby Show

Regardless of the turn for the worse Bill Cosby’s image has taken as of late, you can’t deny the genius that was The Cosby Show, especially since the show boasts some of the best Thanksgiving episodes in television history. Who could forget the time Cliff Huxtable swore that no one can tell the difference between pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie in “Cliff’s Wet Adventure”? Or the way Claire sent Cliff out into a raging storm to pick up supplies multiple times?


Roseanne’s Thanksgiving episode is no doubt a favorite with viewers that enjoy the Connors and their cynical approach to life. A holiday dinner at their home is exactly as you’d expect, making it an easy add to any Thanksgiving watch list. Laugh yourself silly as you relive Roseanne’s dislike of her daughter’s new husband, her dread over dealing with her mother, and more.

Of course, these are just a few of the many, many Thanksgiving contributions classic television has made to our ongoing watch lists.