Every year it feels like we go straight from Halloween to Christmas without even a thought for the glorious holiday we call Thanksgiving. I have often wondered if Thanksgiving would be more of a real holiday -- instead of a dinner, parade and football game day -- if we decorated and listened to music beforehand. So, in the spirit of turning Thanksgiving into a real holiday instead of a glorified reason for stretchy pants, here is a genuine, honest-to-goodness, awesome list of Thanksgiving “carols,” if you will.
'Food Glorious Food'
This is one of my favorite songs from the famous musical "Oliver!" that's based on the Charles Dickens novel of the same name. Nothing makes you more grateful for your impending feast than a bunch of starved orphans who get nothing more than gruel for each meal.
'Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)'
This classic by crooner Bing Crosby is a sweetly sung song that almost sounds like a Christmas carol that my grandparents would listen to. It was written by the wonderful Irving Berlin for the 1954 holiday film "White Christmas." It’s a winner for the whole family that will stick in your heart from the first time you hear it.
My kids introduced me to this well-written spoof put to the tune of the "William Tell Overture." The animation goes with the song quite perfectly and the subtitles help a lot. Elementary age kids will have a lot of fun checking out the video link.
This is a Thanksgiving song by none other than The Man in Black, Johnny Cash. Amazing right? As a special present to our readers, I made sure to include the link where he sings this holiday treat on the TV show "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman." You’re welcome.
Mary Chapin Carpenter wrote and performed this beautiful country classic. It comes off of her "Come Darkness, Come Light: Twelve Songs of Christmas" album but lends itself to Thanksgiving more than Christmas, truth be told. So if there are country fans in your household, this may just be the next classic Thanksgiving tune in your home.
'My Favorite Things'
This song from "The Sound of Music" by the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein is familiar to most. I grew up singing this with my family during the holidays, substituting some of our own favorite things into the song. It is simply a song about gratitude for what we love most and fits perfectly with the Thanksgiving season.
'Over the River and Through the Woods'
“Over the River and Through the Woods” is a Thanksgiving song by Lydia Maria Child. According to Wikipedia, this song was written in 1844, originally as a poem with the title, "A Boy's Thanksgiving Day." There have been many versions of the song over the years that add Christmas lyrics in, but the original was just about Thanksgiving. I’ve added a link to my favorite version by Danny Kaye and the Andrew Sisters. It has a lot more of the extra Christmas stuff added in, but it’s Danny Kaye!
SNL’s 'Thanksgiving Song'
Who doesn’t love a little Adam Sandler? This is a skit from his glory days on "Saturday Night Live" that has turned into a veritable classic. It's also the only Thanksgiving song most people from my generation can name. Hope you enjoy the giggles.
'We Gather Together'
This is one of my favorite hymns of all time. Most of us grew up singing this in church every Thanksgiving, but it is actually a Dutch hymn that made it to American congregations in 1903. This song is forever altered for me since I first heard the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of it called "We Gather Together to Watch Cheesy Movies." I’ve linked to a beautiful Celtic rendition of the beloved hymn.
'What a Wonderful World'
There are not too many songs with the power to make me cry every time I hear them. This is one of the few. The lyrics are beautiful, Louis Armstrong is an amazing talent and it never loses its capacity to make me ponder on my own blessings. I’ve included a link to a live performance, because his smile is one of the things I’m the most grateful for. Happy Turkey Day everyone -- don’t forget to say “I love you” during this month of gratitude to those that matter the most.