From Halloween to Valentine’s Day, it’s just not a holiday without a visit from the Peanuts gang. And Thanksgiving is no different. If you’re wondering where to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving this year, then you might want to carve an hour out of your Thanksgiving pre-planning this Wednesday, Nov. 21, to catch the special on ABC at 8 p.m. EST. Since 2001, ABC has been the official home of all things Peanuts, and this year they’re serving up both the traditional half-hour Thanksgiving special from 1973, and a classic short, The Mayflower Voyagers, which finds Charlie and friends transported back in time to the first Thanksgiving.
If you don’t have access to ABC, don’t fret, because you can still watch Charlie Brown’s thwarted attempts at kicking a football via the internet — but it will cost you. The collection of Peanuts Thanksgiving specials can be purchased via iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play for $9.99. On all three sites, the package includes the original special and the short, so you won’t be missing out on anything.
Of the three major Peanuts specials (although there are way more than three), A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving seems to be the least well-known. However, it features what might be one the earliest Friendsgivings on TV, since it’s all about Charlie getting roped into hosting a dinner for his pals after Peppermint Patty’s dad goes out of town, leaving her with nowhere to go. And just like at many modern Friendsgivings, Charlie and his friends get creative with the menu. Instead of turkey and stuffing, he pulls together a feast of jelly beans, popcorn, ice cream sundaes, and buttered toast with the help of Linus, Woodstock, and Snoopy.
In true Peanuts fashion, the special comes with an emotional twist when Patty and her friends react with dismay at Charlie’s unconventional Thanksgiving feast. Patty soon learns an important lesson about gratitude, and what it means to be a true friend. (Seriously, any kid who spends all afternoon buttering toast and popping popcorn just to make sure his friends have a good Thanksgiving is clearly an amazing pal.)
Whether you grew up watching the special or have never seen it before, you might be surprised by just how relevant it still is in 2018. The lessons about gratitude, friendship, and making sure everyone has a place to spend the holidays are still valuable, and they’ll definitely still make you cry. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving wowed fans in 1973 — it won an Emmy the year after it aired for the first time — and it’s still a part of many people’s holiday traditions for good reason.
Still, the holiday season is nothing if not hectic, so if you can’t watch the Peanuts gang learn the true meaning of Thanksgiving this year, there are other ways to hang out with Charlie Brown on turkey day. Namely, you can see the beloved character’s balloon flying in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Whether you stream the special, watch it live, or only get to relive it through your childhood memories this year, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving remains a funny, heartwarming classic about the spirit of the holiday that deserves to be cherished and shared with generations to come.
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