Thanksgiving, like most holidays, requires a ton of work. Even if you aren't hosting, there's still a side dish to prepare or bottle of wine to pick out. Red? White? Decisions!
If you are hosting the crew at your house on Turkey Day, then it's up to you to create the perfect dinner menu and atmosphere. Make your guests feel right at home by crafting a playlist of Thanksgiving songs before their arrival.
Much like finding a Thanksgiving appetizer to please the masses, coming up with just the right blend of music for everyone in your crowd can be a tricky endeavor. And, unlike Christmas, which has a massive catalog of holiday songs to choose from, there simply aren't that many Thanksgiving songs out there.
Thankfully, we do! We've gathered all the best Thanksgiving songs, everything from Adam Sandler's ode to turkey to Michael Bublé's chart-topper about the gift of home.
"Thanksgiving Song" by Mary Chapin Carpenter
“Thanksgiving Song” by Mary Chapin Carpenter sums up everything we love about Thanksgiving: sharing a feast with loved ones, holding hands 'round the table, to name a few.
"Home for the Holidays" by Perry Como
Perry Como says it best in this classic tune from the 1950s: No matter how far away you roam, there’s no place like home sweet home.
"The Thanksgiving Song" by Adam Sandler
Before there was the iconic “The Chanukah Song,” Adam Sandler sang a hilarious tribute to all things turkey on "Weekend Update" during his time on "Saturday Night Live." Pro tip: You might want to skip his advice about eating it from a shoe. Just sayin.'
"Home" by Michael Bublé
It’s impossible not to feel melancholy listening to Michael Bublé’s wistful crooning about being home instead of far away from everything he loves — something everyone can relate to, especially around the holidays.
"Autumn in New York" by Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday is legendary and so is this song about spending autumn days in New York. If you can't be in Central Park to see the leaves fall, put this song on and imagine you’re there instead.
"[Do the] Mashed Potatoes" by James Brown
What's better than a Thanksgiving song about everyone’s favorite side dish? This James Brown tune will have everyone dancing around the kitchen. Don’t forget the gravy!
"We Are Family" by Sister Sledge
If you’ve got sisters, then this is a definite add to the Thanksgiving playlist. Even if you don’t, who cares? Add it anyway! “We Are Family” captures what Thanksgiving is all about: spending time with the people you love most.
"Celebrate Me Home" by Kenny Loggins
Your heart's going to hurt the minute Kenny Loggins sings the first line of this classic song: “Home for the holidays, I believe I’ve missed each and every face.” We all know the feeling.
"A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" by George Winston
Pianist George Winston does a wonderful cover of Vince Guaraldi's “Thanksgiving Theme” from the animated classic, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” It’s sure to have everyone waxing nostalgic, especially if jelly beans and popcorn are on the dinner menu.
"The House That Built Me" by Miranda Lambert
Going home can be so bittersweet and Miranda Lambert sums it up perfectly in “The House That Built Me.” Even though it’s sure to tug at your heartstrings, you’ll be glad it’s on the list.
"Whenever You Remember" by Carrie Underwood
Grab a tissue because this song from Carrie Underwood’s debut album “Some Hearts” is guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye.
"Thank You for Being a Friend" by Andrew Gold
Kick off your Friendsgiving celebration with this song that celebrates the gift of friendship. Sound familiar? That's because this catchy tune became the theme song for “The Golden Girls.”
"What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong
Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude for the big and little things like blue skies and watching children grow. This lovely Louis Armstrong song from 1967 is a true celebration of life.
"Thanksgiving" by George Winston
This introspective piano instrumental by George Winston aptly titled "Thanksgiving," captures the moody spirit of November. It’ll make you think of rainy days and falling leaves.
"You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" by Harry Connick Jr.
You may not recognize this old Cole Porter song at first, but its lyrics about coming home and sitting by the fire will captivate you.
"The Thanksgiving Song" by Ben Rector
With lyrics about filling your plate up with Thanksgiving food and watching football, this Ben Rector tune is sure to give you all the feels.
"Home" by Phillip Phillips
If you're far from home this Thanksgiving, press play on this song about making home wherever you are. Sure, you’ll cry a little, but it’s also a reminder that no matter what, you’re never alone.
"Bless the Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts
Here, Rascal Flatts remind us that even life's biggest obstacles can lead you exactly where you're meant to be. It's perfect if you're feeling especially thankful for where you've ended up or better yet, who you've ended up with.
"Take Me Home, Country Roads" by John Denver
Headed home for the holiday? “Country Roads” is exactly what you need to listen to as you hit the open road. You don’t need to be a "mountain mama" or even live in West Virginia to appreciate this timeless John Denver song.
"We Gather Together" by Craig Duncan
Written in 1597 to celebrate the Dutch victory over Spain in battle, this traditional hymn has become a classic at church and dinner tables everywhere.
"I'll Be There For You" by The Rembrandts
It doesn't matter which of the "Friends'" Thanksgiving episodes is your favorite (we vote the one with the Mockolate), they're all memorable! The show's theme song describes what friends and family do best: lend a shoulder when someone needs it most.
"Over the River and Through the Woods" by Ira Ironstrings
Published as a children's poem in 1844, "Over the River and Through the Woods" was originally titled “The New England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day.” Now, we all know it as the song about taking a sleigh ride to Grandma’s house.
"Our House" by Madness
In this song, Madness describes just another ordinary day. Like every other household, things are mildly chaotic, but that's exactly what makes it a (happy) home.
"Home" by Daughtry
Ah, there's truly no place like home. The “American Idol” runner-up used rock 'n' roll to really drive this point home (get it?).
"Stand By Me" by Ben E. King
When the chips are down and you need reinforcements to help get back on your feet, who better to call than friends and family? Play this song to thank them for always standing by you.
"Family Affair" by Sly & The Family Stone
Sometimes, family members have to go their separate ways to realize all that they have. "Family Affair" is about exactly that.
"In My Life" by The Beatles
Reflect on Thanksgivings past and present while listening to The Beatles sing about remembered places and days gone by.
"Thank You" by Dido
Don't let the name fool you: This song isn't necessarily a call for gratitude, but it is a tongue-in-cheek way to thank someone for the "best day of my life."
"Autumn Leaves" by Doris Day
Frank Sinatra and Eric Clapton (among others) have covered this standard about autumn leaves of red and gold drifting by the window. We especially love the Doris Day version, but feel free to find your own favorite recording.
"Family Tradition" by Hank Williams Jr.
Most families have some sort of Thanksgiving tradition whether it's watching football or napping after Thanksgiving dinner. Hank Williams Jr. has some family traditions of his own, namely drinking and smoking. To each their own!
"Recipe of Love" by Harry Connick Jr.
Whatever you're cooking in the kitchen this Thanksgiving, make sure it includes lots of love and a little Harry Connick Jr. on the side.
“Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Thanksgiving is a time for young and old to come together in celebration. This Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song is about the valuable life lessons family and friends can learn from one another — even if you're all stuck at the kid's table.
"My Wish" by Rascal Flatts
Heartfelt and touching, this heavy-hitter by Rascal Flatts is perfect for any Thanksgiving playlist. Let the lyrics spell out your wishes for loved ones including “I hope the days come easy, and the moments pass slow and each road leads you where you wanna go.”
"Thank U" by Alanis Morissette
Take your gratitude beyond Thanksgiving. Here, Alanis Morissette shows her thanks for a whole lot of things, big and small.
"This Is the Time" by Billy Joel
Billy Joel lays down some seriously good advice when he says, "This is the time to remember, 'cause it will not last forever." No truer words have been spoken.
"These Are Days" by 10,000 Maniacs
This 1992 tune by 10,000 Maniacs encourages you to embrace your current moment. Perhaps, it'll even inspire you to find everyday miracles and laugh until your belly hurts.
"Photograph" by Nickelback
There's something about Thanksgiving that makes everyone nostalgic for their childhood. With all its talk of old friends and photos, this Nickelback song describes that sentiment to a T.
"With a Little Help From My Friends" by The Beatles
Your Friendsgiving playlist isn't complete without this sweet ode to friendship.
"Memories" by Maroon 5
"Memories" by Maroon 5 also makes a great Thanksgiving toast. "Here's to the ones that we got, cheers to the wish you were, but you're not. 'Cause the drinks bring back all the memories, of everything we've been through."
"Family Affair" by Mary J. Blige
Follow Mary J. Blige's lead and leave your family drama at the door this Thanksgiving. That's everyone's Thanksgiving wish, isn't it?
"Better Together" by Jack Jackson
There's no better anthem for Thanksgiving than this happy-go-lucky song. Sure, you can do just about anything solo, but isn't everything better with a buddy? Jack Johnson says so.
"Our House" by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
A timeless song about the warmth of a home, this one goes out to all the people living in "very, very, very fine houses with two cats in the yard" (dogs are welcome, too).
"These Are the Days of Our Lives" by Queen
Is that dust in your eye? It's probably because you're listening to this Queen song that touches on the swift passing of time. It's a heartbreaker, but a good reminder to live for the moment.
"Harvest Moon" by Neil Young
Put on a flannel and get ready to dance under the light of the moon. With all its talk of harvests, this acoustic tune is totally on-brand for Thanksgiving.
"thank u, next" by Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande prove that with time, you can become thankful for the heartbreak. In this chart-topper, she reminds us that it's not always the success of the relationship that matters, but rather the lessons we learned along the way.