My Two Cents
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving maintains the innocent, quiet charm of A Charlie Brown Christmas, which aired eight years earlier. Long pauses dot the dialogue and the action is slow and enjoyable. The music composed by Vince Guaraldi is still jazzy and mellow.
Another reason this cartoon special is classic is because it includes the iconic scene with Charlie Brown attempting and failing, again, to kick the football before Lucy pulls it away.
The anxiety Charlie Brown feels about hosting a perfect Thanksgiving meal is palpable, exacerbated by well-meaning Snoopy and Woodstock. (Snoopy has an air of Top Chef about him as he pops the popcorn.) The relief is just as tangible at the end when the gang piles into the "way back" to visit Charlie Brown's grandmother.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is paired on the DVD with The Mayflower Voyages, which is more educational thank entertaining. The Mayflower Voyages tells how the holiday originated, including harsh facts told in a soft, matter-of-fact way that makes death and conflict more palatable for younger folks.