What Are Some Traditional Thanksgiving Songs?

(Last Updated On: November 4, 2019)
Thanksgiving Songs

Thanksgiving is a holiday we all love. It’s a day off from work and school devoted to eating and spending time with friends and family. Unless you’re doing all the cooking, what’s not to like about it?

But Thanksgiving isn’t only a time to eat delicious food and get together with your loved ones. It’s a time to give thanks and show our gratitude and appreciation for everything we have in our lives. And to get you more in the mood and excited for Thanksgiving, we’d like to share some of the top traditional (and not so traditional) Thanksgiving songs on our playlist, that are all about giving thanks:

20 Thanksgiving Songs for Your Holiday Playlists

1. Sweet Potato Pie — James Taylor

Sweet Potato Pie is as sweet of a song as it sounds. With the soft tune and heartwarming lyrics, you’ll love listening to country singer James Taylor as you much as you love munching down on a slice of sweet potato pie.

2. Thank You Girl — The Beatles

For those who are looking for a way to express thanks, you can start by listening to this song. This masterpiece by The Beatles will put you in a great mindset right before the holidays, and help you show your appreciation for your loved ones.

3. Thanksgiving Prayer — Johnny Cash

If you’re looking for another song to really bring out the heart and spirit of Thanksgiving, this song’s a piece of gold. In this hit, Johnny expresses all of his thanks to a special someone, which will make you want to do the same.

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4. Jingle Bells — Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters

“But Jingle Bells is a Christmas song,” you say. While this merry melody is definitely a Christmastime staple, we had to include it on our list because it was actually written as a Thanksgiving song. Let’s just hope you don’t have to dash through the snow on your way to a family dinner.

5. Livin’ on a Prayer — Bon Jovi

Thanksgiving is all about spending time with your friends and family, as you truly cherish the people in your life. Livin’ on a Prayer is a classic that will make you feel nothing but love and appreciation for your loved ones. 

6. Macy’s Day Parade — Green Day

If you haven’t listened to Green Day in a while, now is the perfect time. The song was written for the Macy’s Day Parade—the Thanksgiving Day parade that takes place in New York City each year. It’s one of the largest parades in the world.

Quiz yourself: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Balloons

7. Thankful — Kelly Clarkson

Although it was released a few years back, Kelly Clarkson’s “Thankful” is a modern pop song that continues to be the perfect track to listen to on Thanksgiving. Listening to how thankful she is will put you into a positive mindset and open your heart up to expressing gratitude and appreciation.

8. Thankful — Céline Dion

While the song has the same title as number 7 on our list, this track has its own unique charm. Celine’s beautiful voice and heartwarming lyrics will make you want to express thanks for everything in your life. This song is actually pretty new, so you’ll be thankful you found it!

9. Cooking Up Something Good —Mac DeMarco

If you find yourself stressed as you try to get everything prepared on time, put on this slow melody. It will help remind you why we spend so much time cooking on Thanksgiving in the first place.

10. What a Wonderful World — Louis Armstrong

When you need something to uplift your spirits, there’s no better tune than Louis Armstrong’s famous track. You’ll find newfound appreciation and gratitude for things you haven’t thought about before, and develop more of a positive mindset as the holidays approach. 

11. Thank You — Led Zeppelin

Chances are you’ve probably heard this song before. Throughout the track, Led Zeppelin takes the time to express his love and admiration for a partner. You can listen to this track with a loved one in mind. 

12. We’re Going Home — Vance Joy

Vance Joy’s “We’re Going Home” has got to be one of the sweetest songs on this playlist. It’s all about finding a home in the people that you love. Wherever your loved ones are, that’s where your home is. Blast this song and enjoy your special time with the people you love.

13. Thank You — Dido

No, we’re not trying to make this a game by seeing how many “thank you”s we can find — there are just so many great songs out there for expressing gratitude. This song is a widespread classic that you’ve probably heard at some point in your life. It reminds us that no matter what happens in life, as long as you have people who love you, things won’t be so bad.

14. We Are Family — Sister Sledge

There’s no better way to have fun with your friends and family during Thanksgiving than jamming out to this famous hit. It will energize everyone at the gathering, put you in good spirits, and make you want to get up and dance — the best way to kick off the holidays!

15. Coming Home — Keith Urban ft. Julia Michaels

Here’s another song that’ll make you happy to be home. Keith Urban and Julia Michaels’ lyrics are incredibly sweet, heartwarming, and relatable for anyone who misses their family. It’s true — “there’s nothing in the world that feels like coming home.”

16. Home — Blake Shelton

This song might not be as uplifting and positive as the others, and might even be a little sentimental. However, it’s a beautiful song that can make you realize how important your family is and appreciate them.

17. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving — George Winston

Charlie Brown is such an enduring character, and many are familiar with the various Peanuts holiday specials. This instrumental track will bring a sense of peace and calm to your Thanksgiving dinner–as well as a nice slice of nostalgia. 

18. (There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays — The Carpenters

This song goes pretty far back, but the message remains strong—there’s no place like home for the holidays. Even if you’re really far away, “if you want to be happy in a million ways, for the holidays, you can’t beat home, sweet home.”

19. Thank You For Everything — Jason Gray

Jason Gray’s “Thank You For Everything” is a great song to listen to during the holidays, and a great track to hear when you need to develop a more optimistic outlook. He takes the time to thank God for everything he’s been given, including the hardships and pain, as everything serves its purpose.

20. Autumn Leaves —Nat King Cole

A smooth jazz rhythm and the incredible voice of Nat King Cole make this Thanksgiving song a holiday classic. When the leaves start to fall and the weather gets colder, we all find comfort around loved ones.

That concludes our list of Thanksgiving songs. Take your time to appreciate your friends and family this Thanksgiving. It’s the perfect opportunity to reconnect with your loved ones and spend quality time together, and really show each other how much you appreciate one another (and bond over some delicious food)!

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