How to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving for free online


Pass the popcorn and jelly beans. It’s A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.


The 1973 TV special A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving has been as traditional as turkey and stuffing in many households for years. Many fans, therefore, were unhappy to learn back in October that the Peanuts holiday specials — including It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown; A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving; and the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas, were moving from CBS to Apple TV Plus.

Thursday, however, brought good news for those who still want to be able to turn on broadcast TV like old times and watch Snoopy serve up jelly beans and toast as they’ve done for decades. Apple and PBS announced that they’ve teamed up to offer ad-free broadcasts on both PBS and PBS Kids of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (on Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m. local time/6:30 p.m. Central). A Charlie Brown Christmas will air on those same networks (on Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. local time/6:30 p.m. Central).

Over on Apple TV Plus, just like the Halloween special, the Thanksgiving and Christmas specials will all be viewable free for a few days each, according to Apple. While no special Apple equipment or subscription is required, viewers must have a decent internet connection, be tech-savvy enough to seek out the specials via browser or app during their brief window of free availability, and have a device that can show them. Even in 2020, those conditions don’t apply to everyone. 

“I live in the country and have pretty crappy internet service,” one Twitter user wrote back in October. “I do have DirecTV but no streaming apps. I’ve been a fan of the Peanuts holiday shows for years. Watched them as a child and with my kids but the tradition has died for my grandkids. So sad. Thanks no thanks Apple.”

When to stream the show

Apple TV Plus: 9 tips and tricks to get the most out of the streaming service, app and box can begin watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on Nov. 18. But non-subscribers need to wait until Nov. 25, and can watch it for free until Nov. 27. (Thanksgiving is Nov. 26 this year.)

How to watch

You can either watch in your browser or on the Apple TV app. To watch in your browser, go to . Otherwise, download the Apple TV app and watch on your choice of screen, including iPhone, Amazon Fire, Roku and more. Again, it’s only free during that brief period from Nov. 25 through Nov. 27.

Or watch the old-fashioned way

If watching in your browser or on the app isn’t for you, there’s still another solution: Buy the DVD or Blu-ray version. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is sold by itself ($10 at Target and available plenty of other places as well) or as part of The Peanuts Holiday Collection ($30 at Best Buy, again, also sold elsewhere). Then you’ll have the special — or all the holiday specials — for as long as your DVD player holds out.

Next up: The Christmas special

After Thanksgiving, the next Peanuts holiday special is the OG of the bunch: 1965’s A Charlie Brown Christmas. That’ll be available to Apple TV Plus subscribers beginning Dec. 4, but non-subscribers can only watch it free from Dec. 11 through Dec. 13. 

Even after the holidays, Apple TV Plus will continue as the home for new Peanuts shows, including the second season of the Snoopy in Space series, plus new specials that will mark Mother’s Day, Earth Day, New Year’s Eve and going back to school.

Originally published Nov. 13.
Update, Nov. 18: Adds that both the Thanksgiving and Christmas specials will air ad-free on PBS and PBS Kids.  


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