Hiroko Masuike, Getty Images / Wesley Hitt, Getty Images / Twentieth Century Fox

You’ve got the meal all figured out, but there’s an entire day of preparation ahead of you and that means your family needs entertaining. You want to turn on the tube, but not lull the holiday spirit. Fortunately for you, there are plenty of unique and Thanksgiving-oriented specials available for your whole clan to watch.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade


A classic staple of Thanksgiving and the holiday season is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Parade began in 1924 and is held every Thanksgiving Day in New York City, starting at 9 a.m. for three hours. The parade has featured giant balloon characters since 1927 when Felix the Cat made his way down the route, and this year will see the introduction of new Sonic the Hedgehog, Julius the monkey, Tim Burton’s “B” and Super Mario balloons. The parade always ends with the arrival of Santa Claus to ring in the Christmas season.



Hiroko Masuike, Getty Images


Thanksgiving Football Games


While you’re digesting that big Thanksgiving meal, it’s tradition to kick back and watch your favorite football teams battle it out on the gridiron. Detroit has played a Thanksgiving home game every year since 1934, and since 1966, the Dallas Cowboys have only missed two years of Thanksgiving Day games. Both are involved in match-ups on Thursday. College rivalries are also big, although the number of turkey day games has decreased. This year, rivals since 1901, Tuskegee and Alabama State will meet again for the 88th Turkey Day Classic and Texas will take on Texas A&M in College Station. There will definitely be some stuffing in the South.



Wesley Hitt, Getty Images


Annual National Dog Show.


Compared to the others, this is a fairly new Thanksgiving entertainment tradition, but it’s nothing to shake a paw at. Purina’s National Dog Show has been running on NBC on Thanksgiving Day for ten years. The dog show is something the family can watch together, and it won’t stifle conversation, since you don’t have to be completely tuned in to know what’s going on. You can make predictions for Best in Show, try to name the breeds before the announcers do and debate which dogs are the cutest and why. Just be careful that this doesn’t bring up the whole “Why don’t we have a dog?” fight again.





Classic Movies and TV specials


Another great way to work off that Thanksgiving feast is while jockeying for the best place from which to watch classic Thanksgiving Day movies and new TV specials. No Thanksgiving nap is complete without ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ playing in the background. This year, find it on both NBC and TCM. Or, gather around for ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ on ABC. Just try to get the kids to bed before ‘A Very Gaga Thanksgiving’ starts or you might have some explaining to do.



ABC / Twentieth Century Fox


New Movies in the Theater


After being cooped up in the house together all day, it might help everyone’s nerves to get out in the fresh air and find a movie theater where everyone can sit quietly and not have to listen to any more of Uncle Ned’s awkward stories. Thanksgiving weekend is a great time for family releases that’ll get you all excited for the holidays. And give your kids ideas about what they absolutely can’t live without for Christmas. This year, you can look forward to fighting over seeing ‘The Muppets,’ in which Jason Segel revives the beloved franchise, ‘Arthur Christmas,’ about how Santa manages get all those presents delivered, and ‘Hugo,’ a non-violent, smart, new classic from Martin Scorsese about a boy who lives in a Paris train station.



Columbia TriStar / Paramount Pictures / Walt Disney Pictures


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