35 Best Thanksgiving Songs for the Perfect Turkey Day Playlist

·7 min read
Photo credit: Yoora Kim
Photo credit: Yoora Kim

Turkey Day is all about chowing down on amazing food, reflecting on what you're grateful for, wearing a cute outfit, and spending time with your friends and family. If you're hosting a Friendsgiving bash at your place or just want to feel thankful all November long, you'll need a playlist of the best Thanksgiving songs to set the mood.

Not sure how many popular songs actually exist about turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie? Not many, tbh. That's why we've curated a feast-worthy playlist full of Thanksgiving songs, stuffed with lyrics about giving thanks and expressing gratitude for those we love and what we have. After all, aren't gratitude and love what the holiday is truly about?

Sentimental souls will fall for the blend of modern and vintage Thanksgiving songs sprinkled into the playlist — think Louis Armstrong's "Thanks a Million" paired with "thank u, next" by Ariana Grande. For those that like to get up and groove after a long dinner, upbeat tracks like V.I.C.'s "Wobble" and "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge will leave you with meme-worthy Thanksgiving memories and prevent that food coma from coming on.

Ahead, find the perfect soundtrack for eating all day, snapping cute Thanksgiving pics in the autumn leaves, and expressing how grateful you are for your loved ones. Whether your plans include watching football and the Macy's Parade, lacing up for a Turkey Trot, or winding down after the big meal with a Thanksgiving movie, these are the best of the Thanksgiving songs.

“We Are Family” by Sister Sledge

Grab the fam and turn the living room into a dance floor as Sister Sledge proudly proclaims the unbreakable family bond to a disco beat.

“I Can’t Help Myself” by Four Tops

You’re super stuffed, but that doesn’t stop you from spooning out another helping of stuffing. Like the Four Tops say, you "can't help" yourself.

“Home” by Michael Bublé

Can't make it home for Thanksgiving? Michael comforts those longing for loved ones by reminding us that “It’ll all be all right."

"It's A Lovely Day Today" by Ella Fitzgerald

Give thanks for the gorgeous fall weather and time with loved ones with Ella Fitzgerald's classic 1958 rendition of Irving Berlin's "It's A Lovely Day Today."

"thank u, next" by Ariana Grande

Yes, even your exes could use some appreciation this holiday season.

"Bon Appétit" by Katy Perry ft. Migos

Let Katy give your meal an — uh — unorthodox blessing. The tongue-in-cheek song will get you ready for that Turkey Day spread.

“Happy” by Pharrell

There's nothing quite like a full-on rallying call from Pharrell's “Happy” to get everyone in a joyous mood.

“Pass the Peas” by The JB’s

Politely nudge extended family members who are hogging the good stuff to pass it on along à la the James Brown band.

"Happy Days Are Here Again" by Barbara Streisand

Throw away the bad times and start fresh this Thanksgiving as "Happy Days Are Here Again."

"Cake By the Ocean" by DNCE

Pie haters — this one is for you! Declare your allegiance to cake while rocking out to this catchy hit.

“Thankful” by Josh Groban

Courtesy of Josh Groban, this Christmas-meets-Thanksgiving track sings of looking for truth and light even when it's hard to feel optimistic.

“Thank You” by Kehlani

Nobody’s perfect, and we've all had moments where we could have been better people (especially to our loved ones). Kehlani's track is about thanking those who stay put through your ups and downs.

"'tis the damn season" by Taylor Swift

Reminiscing on what could have been is an inevitable side effect of heading home for the holidays. Let T. Swift guide you through all of those *feels*.

“Biscuits” – Kacey Musgraves

Cleverly tell your nosy family member to back off, by queuing up this song. *Hypothetically* it could be referencing the biscuits and gravy on the menu — but we know the true meaning.

"Mashed Potato Time" by Dee Dee Sharp

Editor's tip: This song is best played as the mashed potatoes are being put on the table. Think of it as the carb's theme song.

"Sweater Weather" by The Neighbourhood

Warm up from November's chill with a cozy love song referencing the GOAT fall wardrobe staple, the sweater.

"Let's Have A Kiki/Turkey Lurkey Time" by Glee

If your Friendsgiving energy is as lit as Kurt Hummel and Rachel Berry's party on Glee, pull up a seat at the table, bb.

"The Thanksgiving Song" by Adam Sandler

Adam Sandler originally performed parody on an episode of Saturday Night Live and it's been a staple for T-Giving jokes ever since.

“Thankful n’ Thoughtful” by Sly & the Family Stone

When Sly says "You gotta be thankful and thoughtful,” truer words have never been spoken.

"Thank God I Found You" by Mariah Carey (Feat. Joe & 98 Degrees)

Bae deserves a special shoutout on Thanksgiving. Consider Mariah Carey's R&B hit your tribute to that special someone.

“Gratitude” by Earth, Wind & Fire

Count on Earth, Wind & Fire to carry a good tune with a meaningful message. “Gratitude” asks for peace of mind as we open our hearts to love.

“In My Life” by The Beatles

Pay tribute to someone who has helped or mentored you in life with "In My Life," even if they are no longer with you.

“It’s Thanksgiving” by Nicole Westbrook

Rivaling the catchiness of Rebecca Black's "Friday," Nicole Westbrook has given us a Europop song about turkey — and it surprisingly works.

"Thanks a Million" by Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra

Louis Armstrong expresses how thankful we all feel on Thanksgiving to the tune of a soulful trumpet. Play this as you unwind from the long day.

"Turkey Chase" by Bob Dylan

Ok — this instrumental was definitely made to be the backing track of your turkey stuffing sesh.

"Let’s Turkey Trot" by Little Eva

Warm up for the big Turkey Trot with a vintage track that will have you up and moving in no time.

“Seasons of Love” by the cast of Rent

The heartfelt tune from the musical Rent reminds us to live our lives to the fullest during the "Seasons of Love" (aka the holidays).

"Sweet Potato" by Sia

This early career song from pop singer Sia is a sweet little ballad named after that sweet and savory Thanksgiving side stuffed with marshmallows and brown sugar.

"Home for the Holidays" by The Carpenters

While some may think this song falls on the Christmas song spectrum, we've noted that The Carpenters don't specify which holiday they are referring to. Plus, is it ever too early for Christmas music?

"Macy's Day Parade" by Green Day

Named after the iconic NYC Thanksgiving parade, Green Day's tune will add a pop of punk to your Turkey Day.

"Thank You for Being a Friend" by Andrew Gold & Cynthia Fee

The Golden Girls theme song is a gift that keeps on giving, and we could all use a touch of our fave gals in our festivities.

"Do the Mashed Potatoes" by James Brown

JB has made our list again and it's easy to see why. The iconic 'mashed potato' dance move is named after the fluffy side dish that has our ❤️'s every year, so ofc it needs to be on the playlist.

"Nothing Without You" by The Weeknd

Use Thanksgiving as your chance to express your feelings to your crush (and to listen to The Weeknd).

"Wobble" by V.I.C.

The phrase "Gobble 'till you wobble," will have a new meaning as soon as you press play on this dance club hit.

"You've Got a Friend in Me" by Randy Newman

Send your guests off with the reminder that you're there for them with the nostalgic song from Toy Story, "You've Got a Friend in Me."

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