If you’re not exactly ready for the Christmas movies that you’ll be inundated with soon enough (and if you want to wait a little before you get your Christmas music on) but you still want that holiday feeling, you might consider opting for the few Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving-adjacent holiday films that are out there. There aren’t a lot of them, but once you find a favorite, you’ll have your own new tradition to ring in the holiday season.
This 2020 film starring Kat Dennings is a wonderful new addition to the holiday canon. It explores the age-old trend that, in recent years, has become known as “Friendsgiving.” Those friends and acquaintances stuck together in one spot because they can’t go back home to celebrate the holidays with their families, get together and form new bonds over the same old stuff – food, laughter and maybe a little TV.
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Based on the Roald Dahl book of the same name, Fantastic Mr. Fox is Wes Anderson’s first foray into stop-motion animation and a celebration of family feasts, told through the lens of an animated fox and his family.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
It might be the funniest Thanksgiving movie out there, starring John Candy and Steve Martin as complete strangers who meet and bond through a series of misadventures on American transit. They are both traveling for Thanksgiving, one to get home to his family, and the other who has a sad secret that bonds them even further. There’s nothing like an accident-filled road trip filled with all the sincere love of a great holiday film.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
A Charlie Brown Christmas is much more well-known, but this fun little cartoon is all about unexpected but eventually welcome guests who come and join Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving. You can’t name a sweeter start to the holiday season, we’d bet, and it’s a great in-between film with It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Home for the Holidays
This lesser-known 1990s gem stars Holly Hunter, Robert Downey, Jr. and a great cast of characters. It follows a dysfunctional family’s attempts to get along at Thanksgiving while all having a tendency to air way too much dirty laundry out in the open. The resilience of family is tested and redefined in this darkly funny film, which is one all of the adults will probably be able to relate to on one level or another.
One theme of most great holiday movies is that the holiday season is the time to appreciate the family you’ve got. Whether it’s the family you were given, the family you’ve made along the way, or a tumultuous balance between the two, it is all worth taking a step back and celebrating, if only for your peace of mind. A good holiday movie is a way to celebrate family whether you’re with them or not, and to get ready for holiday season in a cathartic way.