Stuffed? Kick back with the best Thanksgiving movies and shows to stream

With bellies full of turkey, and all the fixings, and a football blowout underway, sometimes the most satisfying way to spend the day is to park your butt on the couch, unzip your jeans or throw on your stretch pants, and stream to your heart’s content. Thanksgiving doesn’t have quite the wealth of shows and movies that Halloween or Christmas do, but there are some excellent Thanksgiving-themed treasures available if you know where to look. Here are some of the best Thanksgiving movies and episodes available for streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and more this year.

‘Home for the Holidays’ (1995)

Thanksgiving is all about family dysfunction and awkward meals, right? This film has all that in spades. Single mother Claudia Larson (Holly Hunter) returns home for Thanksgiving dinner after having just lost her job, and her daughter Kitt (Claire Danes), who decided to stay back, advised of her intentions to go “all the way” with her boyfriend over the holiday. Great. Despite plenty of familial tension, and a mysterious new person at the dinner table, an unexpected love story emerges.

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‘Miracle on 34th Street’ (1947)

Yes, yes, we know this iconic film is first and foremost a Christmas movie, but you may remember it actually begins at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, when Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) is forced to stand in for a drunken Santa at the last minute — and that makes it a great bridge straight into the holiday season. Kringle’s unconventional methods win the hearts of the people, but the department store management begins to worry when he begins to express that he really is Santa. Is he delusional? Mentally ill? Or, could it be that he really is the true Mr. Claus?

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‘Scent of a Woman’ (1992)

While looking for some quick work over the Thanksgiving weekend to help pay for a flight home, New England prep school student Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell) happens upon Frank Slade (Al Pacino), a blind retired Army Ranger lieutenant colonel who suffers from alcoholism and is in a dark place. In a sweet turn of events, the two help each other through their own respective issues, and an unlikely bond forms. This film is an absolute classic, and Pacino was widely praised for his performance.

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‘Friends,’ ‘The One with All the Thanksgivings’

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The friends of Friends have a long, complicated history, and The One with All the Thanksgivings explores their intertwined pasts, as the characters flash back to Thanksgivings past, showing how they have changed over the years. It’s also an important episode in the development of Monica and chandler’s relationship, with one of the most memorable endings in the series.

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‘South Park,’ ‘Hellen Keller! The Musical’

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The golden age of South Park brought one of TV’s best Thanksgiving episodes, in which the fourth graders of South Park Elementary prepare to put on a rendition of The Miracle Worker for the school’s Thanksgiving showcase. When Butters tells them that he just spied on the kindergartner’s play, and it was incredible, the fourth graders decide to pull out all the stops. Reworking the play into a musical turns out to be the first of many ridiculous attempts to up the ante. South Park is known for political commentary, but the show is at its best — as it is here — when it takes a mundane concept and runs all the way into absurdity.

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‘The West Wing,’ ‘Shibboleth’

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Life in the White House is never breezy, even during the holidays. As President Jed Bartlet prepares for the annual pardoning of a turkey, a shipping container full of refugees lands on the California coast. The refugees claim to be persecuted Christians seeking asylum from the Chinese government, prompting an international crisis. It’s an episode that showcases the many faces of Bartlet, who must be America’s cheerful head of state while navigating the country’s precarious relationship with China. As is usual for The West Wing, it also features witty banter and an inspiring speech about the American dream.

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‘The Simpsons,’ ‘Bart vs. Thanksgiving’

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This classic episode of The Simpsons begins with a Thanksgiving dinner erupting, in typical Simpsons fashion, in a fit of violence, as Bart and Lisa argue, knocking Lisa’s centerpiece into the fire. When the family sends Bart to his room, he runs away instead, but soon finds that life on the streets makes his home seem a lot nicer.

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‘Bob’s Burgers,’ ‘An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal’

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Thanksgiving is generally a family affair, so what to do if you don’t have a family? Rent someone else’s, naturally. That’s what Bob’s landlord, Mr. Fischoeder (Kevin Kline), does in this very special episode, offering Bob’s family five months of free rent if they pretend to be his, so that he can make an old flame jealous. It’s a funny episode, and Linda’s Thanksgiving song alone is worth the watch.

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‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,’ ‘The Gang Squashes Their Beefs’

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For most people, Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful. For the members of the gang on Always Sunny, it’s a time to reflect on just how awful they have been over the years. After some old foes hinder their Thanksgiving plans, Dennis, Mac, Dee, Charlie, and Frank realize they have too many enemies, and decide bury some hatchets (literally, in one instance). The Gang Squashes Their Beefs is a fun episode, full of throwbacks to classic Always Sunny plots.

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