The Top 7 Thanksgiving Movies for Kids

Thanksgiving is an annual holiday observed for religious and traditional reasons. The Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated in Canada, the United States, and some Caribbean islands. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln made a national Thanksgiving Day be celebrated each November. This was done at the height of the Civil War with the idea to "heal the wounds of the nation." Prior to this, American's "first Thanksgiving" in 1621 consisted of a three-day festival with the Pilgrims and Native American allies after the Mayflower, a small ship, left Plymouth England in a religious fleet.

Thanksgiving Traditions and Customs

The fourth Thursday of November is a special holiday for many families. Some of the traditions from the earliest Thanksgiving are still celebrated today. Many families celebrate the following each year:

  • Traveling to spend quality time with family by car, train, or plane
  • Eating traditional foods like turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread, and cranberry sauce
  • Giving to charity by volunteering to serve food at food banks and donating to canned food drives at work and school
  • Watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV and family-friendly movies, like the seven listed below

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is an Emmy-award winning special, with Charlie Brown in charge of the Thanksgiving dinner where everyone drops by unexpectedly. This movie also includes "The Mayflower Voyagers" special, a Peanuts rendition of the Mayflower Voyage and the first Thanksgiving.

Charlie Brown movies are famous for watching with the family over popular holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas and are beloved cartoon characters from the running comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz.

Free Birds is a 2013 animated adventure and buddy film from director Jimmy Hayward. The DVD was released in 2014 and is a fun and family-friendly movie for everyone.

In the story, Reggie the turkey is spared when he gets a presidential pardon and a cushy life. That is until Jake, another turkey, rips Reggie out of his comfort zone and into a special ops mission to go back in time to the first Thanksgiving and take turkey off the menu.

This animated comedy is one of the few Thanksgiving-themed movies out there, and while it lacks a little flavor, the movie is fun for the season and kids about ages 5 and up will gobble up the adventure.

This classical musical group is an American live-action film series with many shorts, friendly for both family and children. The Thanksgiving-themed DVD Alvin's Thanksgiving Celebration contains the following Alvin and the Chipmunks episodes:

  • A Chipmunk Celebration
  • Food for Thought
  • Cookie Chomper III
  • Dave's Getting Married

In A Chipmunk Celebration, Alvin invites his relatives for Thanksgiving just so they can watch him star in the community Thanksgiving play, but he changes his tune when he doesn't exactly get the part he wanted.

In Food for Thought, the story tells about the time when Alvin and Simon help Theodore study for his American history test by relating all of the details to food. This episode is endearing, because the brothers are so intent on helping Theodore, and it is educational, as the boys touch on several points regarding Thanksgiving and other historical points.

Winnie the Pooh is a classic fictional character from Hundred Acre Wood. Created by Disney, Pooh goes on adventures with his friends like Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore. The collection of stories from author A. A. Milne help teaches children and family wise thoughts about life and friendship.

With Winnie the Pooh's memorable holiday adventures, Winnie, Piglet, and Tigger set out to find the right ingredients for Winter. Then, Rabbit learns how to manage a complicated Thanksgiving dinner, and everyone gets a special visit from a new friend. The Seasons of Giving show features a number of delightful songs for singing along.

In this Thanksgiving tale, Mouse on the Mayflower, kids set sail with the tiniest pilgrim on a musical voyage to America. Voiced by Tennessee Ernie Ford, Eddie Albert, and June Foray, this animated TV show was created in the Japanese studio Toei Animation and was first aired in November 1968 on NBC.

The story follows a church mouse, Willum, who is found on the Mayflower. The story is narrated by Willum, from his perspective, as the tale navigates a huge storm before landing safely in the autumn season.

Garfield is a popular character and comic strip created by Jim Davis. This American story shows the life of the cat Garfield with his owner Jon. The show was first published in 1978 and published by Random House.

These three cartoon specials feature the holiday adventures of the lazy, lovable, Garfield. First, Garfield and Odie get stuck in a haunted house populated by spectral pirates in Garfield's Halloween Adventure. In A Garfield Christmas, Garfield and Odie are home alone while Jon visits Grandma on the farm.

For Turkey Day, Jon has a hot date for Thanksgiving dinner in Garfield's Thanksgiving when Liz the veterinarian agrees to come over. Meanwhile, Garfield's on a preparatory diet to get ready for the feast. These holiday adventures are perfect for the family to watch together.

Miracle on 34th Street may seem like a simple Christmas classic, but this 1947 crime and drama film has plenty of place in the living room after Thanksgiving dinner.

In this story, Kris Kringle is a character that is unbeknownst to cynical, market-minded adults and known as the real Santa Claus who is hired to play himself at the Macy's Department Store in New York City. Kringle finds himself in a situation where he must convince an unbelieving little girl, and others, that he is the real Santa. As the film begins with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, it is perfect to watch on Thanksgiving Day with the family.