With a new school year upon us and fall just around the corner, it’s time to get back into the spirit of pumpkin spice everything. The only upside to a long, hot summer is knowing that humidity will soon be replaced by cool breezes and that wearing nothing but cardigans will be socially acceptable for at least the next few months.
Autumn is the perfect season to pour a bowl of Count Chocula, light that Sweater Weather candle, and kick back in front of the TV with some cozy classics. The last year and a half has turned all of our lives upside down, but thankfully we have plenty of films we can enjoy that are as colorful as the changing leaves.
Here are the best Thanksgiving movies for you and your kids to enjoy together as we get closer to Turkey Day.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
It’s not a proper Thanksgiving without Snoopy and the gang. Follow up your annual viewing of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown with A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. This holiday classic finds Charlie Brown rushing around to prepare for a Thanksgiving he didn’t know he’d be hosting until Peppermint Patty calls him up and invites herself over (rude). Thankfully for Charlie Brown, whose cooking skills are questionable at best, Snoopy and Woodstock come to the rescue and prepare a meal of toast, popcorn, and jelly beans. The best part is that you can enjoy your yummy feast while the Peanuts contemplate whether they should eat their lackluster meal or go to Charlie Brown’s grandparents’ house for a proper dinner. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is available to stream now on AppleTV Plus.
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Fans of Roald Dahl’s delicious book Fantastic Mr. Fox are in luck. In 2009, Wes Anderson adapted it into a film and used stop-motion animation to breathe new life into the already popular tale. Starring George Clooney, Meryl Streep, and Bill Murray, the film follows the titular fox as he tries to protect his family and fellow animals from the three nearby farmers — Boggis, Bunce, and Bean — that are hunting them. The eccentric and visually stunning animation captures the whimsical spirit of Dahl’s book, which parents would do well to have their children read in addition to watching the film. Filled with chicken dinners, tunnel-digging, and fall colors galore, Fantastic Mr. Fox is a worthy companion for a slice of post-turkey pumpkin pie and a wonderful reminder of the importance of community this time of year. You can stream it now on Disney Plus.
Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving
Does it get any cozier than Winnie the Pooh? We think not. Journey back to the Hundred Acre Wood with Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving and join your favorite pals Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore as they prepare for the changing seasons. One of the episodes in this animated musical is A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving, which finds the friends trying to gather special items for their Thanksgiving feast. The film also includes an episode that takes place closer to Christmas, making for a nice collection to enjoy between the two holidays. Pooh and the gang always learn valuable life lessons during their adventures, and Seasons of Giving offers enough upbeat, friendship-themed songs to keep you and your kids singing for weeks.
We’re Back: A Dinosaur’s Story
One of the best kid’s movies to come out of the 90s, We’re Back: A Dinosaur’s Story stars a colorful cast of prehistoric characters who eat a magic cereal that gives them human-level intelligence and the ability to talk. After discovering that they’re being brought to New York City by a time-traveling scientist, they land smack in the middle of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade where they sing the delightful “Roll Back the Rock,” a song you won’t be able to get out of your head for the rest of your life (in a good way). The dinosaurs learn a great deal about humanity when they meet a creepy villain echoing of Halloween, an upper-class girl with an absent family, and a runaway boy just looking for a friend. If your kids haven’t seen this touching adventure story yet, it’s about to become one of their new faves.
Jim Henson’s Turkey Hollow
If you want your kids to put down their devices this holiday season and they resist, odds are they’ll be able to relate to the sibling characters in Jim Henson’s Turkey Hollow. The film follows Tim and Annie as they travel to visit their Aunt Cly on her farm in Turkey Hollow, a town that — gasp! — doesn’t have internet. While there, they stumble upon forest monsters, a creepy sheriff, an evil turkey farmer, strange-looking pumpkins, and the legend of the Howling Hoodoo, which Tim and Annie hope to prove actually exists despite the townspeople’s insistence that it’s only a myth. Ludacris narrates this fuzzy family movie, which also stars Oscar winner Mary Steenburgen. With any luck, Tim and Annie will inspire your kids to go out on their own woodsy adventure this holiday season — just make sure they’re home in time for Thanksgiving dinner!
Thanksgiving wouldn’t be half as meaningful (or delectable) without the tradition of breaking bread with family and friends. That’s exactly the spirit that Remy the rat imbues in Ratatouille. Remy wants to become a real-life cook and make special dishes for people from all walks of life. When he comes together with Linguini, a human who can’t cook half as well as Remy can, the duo proves that sometimes the tastiest fusions occur when you least expect them to. This spirit of togetherness is definitely appropriate for Thanksgiving, and Ratatouille’s many kitchen scenes are enough to make anyone’s mouth water. If your kids want to help you cook the stuffing and mashed potatoes this year, Ratatouille is the perfect appetizer to give them a taste of what it takes to create a meal to remember.
Dora’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
To entertain your little ones (or just the ones who are too stubborn to admit how much they still love Dora), look no further than the Thanksgiving episode of Dora the Explorer, Dora’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This special finds Dora and Boots trying to save the Pirate Piggies after they float away on the float that Dora has made for the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Will they be able to get the Piggies back and save the day? One can only hope. Dora’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is available to stream now on Paramount Plus, and if the special’s sense of adventure leaves your kids wanting more, have them check out Dora and the Lost City of Gold, her first live-action film, available to stream on Hulu.
Television’s hungriest cat is about to face the biggest challenge of his life: going on a diet. That’s right, there will be no turkey dinner for Garfield this year. After a check-up at the vet’s office the day before Thanksgiving, Garfield is told by Dr. Liz that he has to start eating healthier. Unlike his owner Jon, who is smitten with Dr. Liz and thrilled that she has agreed to come over for Thanksgiving dinner, Garfield is miserable that he won’t be able to indulge the way he does every year. Will he find a way to convince Dr. Liz to let him enjoy the feast? Will there even be a feast, with Jon being such a terrible cook, or will Grandma have to come over and save the day? Find out in Garfield’s Thanksgiving, a comedic treat that will make you glad you’re not on a diet.
Nothing says Thanksgiving like a centuries-old treasure hunt that illuminates America’s rich history. National Treasure is an action-packed adventure film that stars Nicolas Cage as Benjamin Franklin Gates, a treasure hunter searching for a hidden treasure his grandfather told him about when he was a young boy. The treasure was discovered by the Founding Fathers, brought to America, and buried somewhere only they knew about. Studying clues they left behind on dollar bills and the back of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin hopes to find the hidden loot before a rival band of hunters do. National Treasure and its sequel National Treasure: Book of Secrets are both available to stream on Disney Plus and are so exhilarating that they don’t even feel like borderline history lessons. No need to tell the kids that they are, either. *wink*
It’s easy to understand why turkeys might not be as gung-ho about Thanksgiving as we are. In the animated sci-fi adventure Free Birds, two of them actually go back in time in an effort to alter the first Thanksgiving and take themselves off the menu entirely. While we can’t imagine Thanksgiving without the main course, you can’t help but root for the eager birds, voiced by Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson. Even if you and your kids don’t want the birds to succeed in their mission (what else would we eat?!), their tale has plenty of goofy jokes and beautiful fall foliage to enjoy along the way. You can watch these birds try to free themselves on Amazon Prime.
Addams Family Values
They’re creepy and they’re kooky, but somehow we always keep coming back to see what they’ll do next. Following their first eccentric adventure together, The Addams Family returns in Addams Family Values, which finds Uncle Fester in the spidery clutches of Debbie, a con artist out to steal his money. Meanwhile, Wednesday and Pugsley are mad at their parents for bringing a new baby into the family and allowing them to wind up at an overly cheerful summer camp. It’s there that the kids perform in a hilarious, if politically incorrect, Thanksgiving play with famously disastrous results. For an extra-special treat, follow this one up with the newest Addams Family computer-animated adaptation, now available to stream on Hulu.
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Look, you’re an amazing parent who can do literally anything, right? Then there’s a 100% chance you can put up with three squeaky, high-pitched voices for an hour and a half. With their numerous television shows and movies, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore have been a part of our lives since the late 50s. Their first live-action adaptation stars Jason Lee as Dave, a down-on-his-luck songwriter who meets the musically inclined, if chaotic, chipmunks and realizes that they can help him turn everything around. Chaos inevitably ensues (how can it not with Alvin around?), but together Dave and the chipmunks learn the meaning of family, something they all desperately want. Even if you have to wear earplugs, Alvin and the Chipmunks serves as a reminder that no matter how wild the people in our lives can be, at the end of the day they’re the ones who make the holiday season worth experiencing. Plus this is the one season where no one can judge you for relating hardcore to that face-stuffing little munchkin, Theodore.