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It’s Thanksgiving week! Thanksgiving is, admittedly, my favorite holiday of the year. I usually host at my house. I love to cook and bake and I always love getting the family together with good food, good drinks, and good music. However, this year certainly brings challenges unique to any other year. If you told me in March that I’d be cooking Thanksgiving dinners and packing them up in take-out containers for family, I’d have thought you were crazy. But, alas, here we are.  While the family won’t be around the same table, we are still thankful for plenty. And since I’m still cooking Thanksgiving dinner, I’m still going to need some Thanksgiving music to cook to!

My household used to play Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant (all eighteen and a half minutes) a few times on Thanksgiving Day, but other Thanksgiving-specific music isn’t easy to come by.  To make things easier for you as you run into this problem, here are eight songs for you to add to your Thanksgiving Day playlist that are rooted in the themes of gratitude, family, and thankfulness.

Be Kind — Liv Wilinski

A Friends of Jam Cats original! Liv’s sweet voice and delicate ukulele make this a loveable piece for kids and adults alike. The theme of the song reminds us to simply “be kind to everyone you meet.” In a year like this, we’ve all gone through our own battles. This song reminds us to be kind to all as we make it through this year.

Home — Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

The music video helps, but this song’s nostalgic feel of this song is a feel-good on its own. In a year where we have been in our homes more than ever, the line “Home is wherever I’m with you” speaks to us more directly. Our houses are the four walls we’ve been in since March. Home is the family inside with us. (*disclaimer, there is some mild profanity at 3:25).

Mashed Potato USA — James Brown

OK, so obviously not a family or grateful concept, but some would argue it’s the best part of the Thanksgiving plate. (I personally think it’s the stuffing, but hey!)

Grateful for Friends on Thanksgiving — Leon Bridges

Before Leon serenades us, Elmo and “Mr. Leon” discuss different things they are thankful for. Though from Sesame Street, everyone will be walking around the house singing “oh oh…oh oh…Thankful, yes I am thankful.”

Kind and Generous — Natalie Merchant

Natalie Merchant’s voice is a vivid 90s memory for me. I can remember pre-teen me sitting on my couch watching this video in VH1. The song is an expression of thanks and gratitude, the perfect Thanksgiving theme.

 It Won’t Be Like This For Long — Darius Rucker

With a title that may never be more true than 2020, it reminds us that this will pass. While it is incredibly difficult, challenging, and exhausting, it has given us “bonus time” with the loved ones in our bubble.

Gratitude — Earth, Wind, and Fire

The theme is obvious, and we all need to groove during the holiday. Who better to dance to than Earth, Wind, and Fire??

Thank You For Being a Friend — Andrew Gold

Many know Cynthia Fee’s version as the theme from The Golden Girls. Personally, I can say that this year has been the year I’ve seen my best friends the least but leaned on them the most. We found ways to support each other without being present, and I am forever thankful for those friendships.


There you have it, folks! Please let us know what else you’re listening to on Thanksgiving.

We wish you that happiest of Thanksgivings this year. As I mentioned several times throughout this piece, this year has been incredibly difficult for so many of us for so many reasons. I hope we can all take this holiday to pause and reflect on what we have gained vs. what we have lost. From all of us at The Jam Cats, stay well, keep singing, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!