Other Holiday Specials Wiki
Directed by: Bill Melendez
Phil Roman
Written by: Charles M. Schulz
Release date: November 20, 1973
Running time: 25 minutes
Rating: TV-G
Available on: VHS

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is a 1973 Thanksgiving special based on the comic strip Peanuts.


The special opens with Lucy enticing Charlie Brown to kick the football she is holding. Charlie Brown at first refuses, correctly suspecting that Lucy will pull it away as always; but Lucy convinces him that kicking the football is a Thanksgiving tradition, and that being asked to do so is an honor. Charlie Brown decides that Lucy would never pull her trick on a national holiday, and ends up getting deceived and landing flat on his back once again. (Lucy makes no further appearances in this episode).

Charlie Brown and Sally are preparing to go to their grandmother's place for Thanksgiving dinner when Charlie Brown gets a phone call from Peppermint Patty, who invites herself over to Charlie Brown's house for the holiday dinner. Two quick subsequent phone calls add Marcie and Franklin to the guest list, and since Charlie Brown cannot get a word in edgewise with Patty, he quickly finds himself in a quandary with no easy solution—at least not until Linus shows up.

Linus suggests to Charlie Brown that he could have two dinners: the first one for Patty and her friends, and then the second one at his grandmother's home, forcing Charlie Brown to admit that all he knows how to make is "cold cereal and maybe toast." Regardless, Linus recruits Snoopy and Woodstock to set up a ping-pong table and chairs in the backyard (setting the table has its own problems as Snoopy goes toe-to-toe with an uncooperative, folding deckchair that comes to life and torments him). Snoopy and Woodstock set the table, then help Charlie Brown and Linus with the food. When the food is readied, Snoopy and a reluctant Woodstock go to Snoopy's doghouse and dress in Pilgrim clothing. They return to the house with Snoopy holding a musket, which fires unexpectedly and causes Charlie Brown to lose his patience.

The guests arrive, and they all make their way to the backyard for the feast. Linus leads the group in prayer, and Snoopy serves up the food, throwing the plates to each guest Frisbee-style. Each person gets:

  • Two slices of buttered toast,
  • Some pretzel sticks,
  • A handful of popcorn, and
  • A few jelly beans.

At first Patty is shocked, but her shock quickly turns to outrage, and she angrily berates Charlie Brown for the "meal." Embarrassed and dejected, Charlie Brown timidly leaves the table and goes back into the house. Patty's tirade continues until Marcie gently reminds her that Charlie Brown did not invite her to dinner; she invited herself —along with Marcie and Franklin. Realizing Marcie is right, Patty comes to her senses and begs Marcie to go and apologize to Charlie Brown on her behalf. Marcie reluctantly does so, but Patty soon follows her and apologizes to Charlie Brown herself.

In the midst of the quasi-feast, Charlie Brown loses track of the time. The clock strikes four, reminding him that he and Sally are supposed to be at their grandmother's home for dinner in half an hour. So he calls his grandmother to tell her that they are going to be a little late and to explain the situation—he has friends over and none of them have eaten yet. But his grandmother suggests that he bring all his friends with him for Thanksgiving dinner; the idea is welcomed with cheers from everyone. En route, the gang sings a chorus of Over the River and through the Woods, but Charlie Brown qualifies the title, adding that his grandmother lives in a condominium.

After they leave, Snoopy and Woodstock go to the doghouse and cook up their own traditional Thanksgiving meal that includes a turkey complete with all the trimmings (they pull apart the wishbone, with Woodstock getting the bigger piece). Over the end credits the two friends each devour dessert: a large piece of pumpkin pie. They then sit back with contented smiles as Woodstock pats his full stomach.