Family time before turkey time

Nov. 23, 2011, 9:38 a.m. | By Saaraa Farooq | 12 years, 7 months ago

Movies that highlight the true meaning of Thanksgiving

With the long Thanksgiving weekend ahead of us, finding things to do with the extended family to keep everyone happy may not be as easy as it sounds. So while you all wait for that delicious turkey and pumpkin pie to finish cooking, we're here to recommend heartwarming, family classics to keep the holiday spirit up. These five Thanksgiving movies provide moments of loving family and the fully capture the spirit of the season.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)

"A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" the perfect movie for you and the kids during this family packed holiday. Photo courtesy of

Let's start with the traditional family film that we all loved growing up. To keep all those young relatives tight in their seats while still having fun yourself, this movie does the job. For those of you who haven't yet seen this classic, it's pure delight as you watch Charlie Brown and his friends come together to enjoy a very unusual Thanksgiving feast hosted by Charlie himself. However, their Thanksgiving doesn't go quite as planned and Snoopy and Woodstock have to try to save Charlie from embarrassing himself. This movie captures the true meaning of Thanksgiving with warmth and humor, to be enjoyed again and again every year.

Pieces of April (2003)

Katie Holmes doesn't disappoint as the black sheep of her family in this comedy-filled drama. April Burns (Holmes) is the rebellious daughter who offers to host an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner for her suburban family in her messy New York apartment. Her family plans for the worst as they drive slowly to the city, doubting that the meal will be any good. Meanwhile, all is not well in April's kitchen as she discovers that her oven doesn't work, forcing her to rely on the help of strangers to throw a successful meal. This movie will bring the perfect mix of melancholy wistful hope, comedy and wit to your house, making it a must-see on our list.

Home for the Holidays (1995)

When things get a little crazy with hoards of people milling around the house, this movie will remind everyone why they're all there and just how important family really is. Single mom Claudia Larson (Holly Hunter) loses her job the day before Thanksgiving and continues to receive more bad news as the holiday passes. Claudia has to fly to Baltimore to join her family for another rocky holiday. With her overbearing parents, crazy aunt Glady, humorless sister Joanna, mischievous gay brother Tommy and his new boyfriend, unexpected disasters occur at dinner. This movie is filled with comic resilience along with a deep, dark secret. Director Jodie Foster focuses on softening disappointments and old grudges, applicable to any large family, making it a fun movie to watch during this family-filled holiday.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Looking for a laugh this Thanksgiving? Join Neal and Del on their adventure across the map as they face crazy situations trying to get home for Thanksgiving.  Photo courtesy of

In "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," Neal Page (Steve Martin) is an advertising executive who wants to fly home to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with his family. But first, he meets Del Griffith (John Candy), a loud-mouthed but loveable salesman who gives Neal a whole lot of misery in addition to keeping him far from his turkey at home. This dynamic duo faces every traveler's nightmare in a comedy with scenes that can be just plain crazy. This hilarious movie will bring out hearty laughs and family time as you sit back and relax as Neal tries to shake off Del all over the map.

It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

There is no better way to start your holiday season than with this Christmas classic. Though not a traditional Thanksgiving movie, "It's A Wonderful Life" sends the perfect message about family, friends and the joy of life – everything that the holidays are about. George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) is a compassionate young man who gives up his dreams to run the family business after the death of his father. When $8,000 goes missing because of evil millionaire Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) things don't look good. George is ready to give up on life, but his guardian angel Clarence (Henry Travers) shows George what life would be like if he never existed. This is the perfect movie to show that even though life can get out control, it can be wonderful if you have the right perspective.

Tags: movies holiday Thanksgiving

Saaraa Farooq. Saaraa Farooq, yes, she has an abundance of A's in her name, just don't ask what her middle name is. She can be found watching Doctor Who, listening to music (ATL, The Beatles, ARTTM, rock, alternative, and all that good stuff...), or taking pictures of … More »

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