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This isn't going to be a normal Thanksgiving, is it? And 2020 hasn't been a banner year when it comes to things to be thankful for. A global pandemic continues to ravage the globe, and the death toll is catastrophic. Broken groups of families and friends will be celebrating with each other over Zoom, many of them doing so with members missing. The gaping maw of the American political divide will be signing in to that Zoom room no problem, though.
What's the point of rehashing all of that? This is a moment, now more than ever, to keep family close. A family by blood, a family by bond, a family you've found, it doesn't matter. Whatever this year has done to you, you're not alone. Even if you physically are alone, you aren't in the larger sense. This is where the power of stories can help.
In the world of genre storytelling, there are countless examples of families, tribes, clans, and groups who only manage to keep hope alive because they have each other. Some of these families have seriously been through it, and many losses have happened. They get through it, and if you have nowhere else to turn this holiday season, you may be inspired by their example. You may be comforted by spending some imaginary time with them. In some instances, you may just want to have a little fun. Remember fun? It's a thing. It'll be back. Bet on it, bet on it, bet on it, bet on it.
Here are 12 families that we'd love to spend Thanksgiving with, and here's hoping that nobody here greets anyone with the following words: "Great news, we made our own cranberry sauce!" It's the ridged stuff in the can, or it's crap. Onward!
The Earps (Wynonna Earp)
The above clip shows a fun Earp Christmas and not Thanksgiving, but who cares. Anyone would be lucky to spend any holiday with this group, and that definitely includes Guy Fawkes Day. Not only would you get fun and frolic with Wynonna and Waverly, you'd also get Nicole, Doc, and depending on what season of the show you're celebrating in, a cavalry of other great characters.
If demons try to disrupt your merriment? You're covered. Wynonna always has you covered. A more adorable ultra-badass you will never find. We're just thankful that this People's Choice Award-winning show exists at all, quite frankly.
House Atreides (Dune)
Let's do this one on Caladan, before the family ever goes to Arrakis. Paul is in the mix obviously, and Lady Jessica would never bother to make cranberry sauce. Cans all the way! Duke Leto would preside over the affair, and because they are a family who would surely include their friends and comrades in all celebrations, you can bet that Gurney Halleck and Duncan Idaho will be there too. Hot!
If you get an invitation to spend the holiday with House Harkonnen, here's what you do: Rip the invite into 15 pieces, dig up your stolen gold, and go somewhere you'll never be found. The Harkonnens make cranberry sauce out of children. I have no evidence for that statement but it's probably true.
The Royal Family of Wakanda (The Marvel Cinematic Universe)
Wakanda definitely doesn't recognize this holiday. They've undoubtedly invented a different one that is better in every way. This entry is just an excuse for us to try and go spend some time there.
Yes, we want to visit Wakanda. Yes, we want to celebrate with the royal family, and we don't really care what we're celebrating. We want to meet Shuri and listen to her banter with T'Challa.
What we really want though? We want to spend some time in a fictitious fantasy pocket of existence where Chadwick Boseman is still with us.
The McDucks (DuckTales)
Money all around! Why would you not want to spend a holiday with an insanely rich duck who talks with the voice of David Tennant?
The whole rowdy extended McDuck clan would be involved: Huey, Dewey, Louie, Webby, Launchpad, Mrs. Beakley, Donald, and countless other legacy creations that this new show has brought back to life. A quest could break out at any moment, and maybe Scrooge would be generous and let you go for a dip in his money.
That's what this one is about, actually. Get in, grab as much cartoon cash as possible, and get out. Theft!
The Fam (Doctor Who)
Any chance to go aboard the TARDIS is an instant yes, as is any chance to meet any Doctor that this show has featured. We're currently skipping along with 13, Graham, Ryan, and Yaz, though... also known as "the fam." They're the ones with which our giving of thanks will be done with.
This foursome would give fun and kindhearted good cheer to anyone, and we know that the TARDIS can use its time circuits to cook a turkey. The issue here is that we'd turn into the holiday guests who never leave — once we're in that box, we're there for life. Deal with it, Timeless Child! You already have three companions, what's one more? We may even fall in love, but let's not label anything right now. Pass those carrots, Yaz!
Lucifer and his entire cast (Lucifer)
Imagine the possibilities! Lucifer Morningstar on his own would provide a lively time, but his family (and extended found family) would be along too. Amenadiel for sure, Mazikeen, and someone played by Tricia Helfer. It wouldn't really be a holiday for Lucifer without Chloe Decker and Trixie, so naturally, they'd also be there.
Detective Douche has grown on us immensely and we're all but sure he shares our love for canned cranberry concoctions. Ella Lopez, absolutely. And most importantly? Dr. Linda (the best character on the show) would make it complete.
The question is whether or not Lucifer's dad is invited, because things would get interesting right quick. If we had the opportunity to literally meet God this Thanksgiving, we'd take it. We have questions. Hey God, what's the deal? Feel free to answer while you pass the green bean casserole.
The Sanchez/Smiths (Rick and Morty)
Some of us may or may not already have this show on a repeating loop and will keep it that way for the rest of 2020. That said, wow, this would be a day to remember.
Jerry and Beth would be arguing, Morty and Summer would be arguing, and Rick would be drinking. At some point a robot that Rick built to cook stuffing could attempt to eat Saturn. Jerry may accidentally turn on a Mr. Meeseeks box. You never know. Any way you look at it, this would be a story train of madness that can't be denied. An added bonus? Rick's butter robot would have something to do.
The Incredibles (The Incredibles/Incredibles 2)
Yes, of course, they invited Frozone's family to join them. Come on, that should go without saying.
There's always the chance for adventure here, but aside from that? This is one loving family unit that knows how to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and go back for more. This pack is at their best when they work together, so there are lessons to be learned here.
Lessons to be learned after eating. We're gonna guess that Mr. Incredible can eat an entire turkey's worth of fatty skin without his gag reflex kicking in. Not all of us can do that.
The Fellowship (The Lord of the Rings)
Sure, but when exactly? Let's say we hold this celebration after the destruction of the One Ring, but before the departure from the Grey Havens. Imagine the stories we would hear! Frodo won't be much of a laugh, but this is really the only time that this fantastically great group is together without doom hanging over them.
As a bonus, Faramir, Eowyn, and Eomer would also be in attendance. Not only that, Aragorn isn't about to host a holiday dinner without his beloved wife, Arwen Evenstar. If they decide to include Elrond, then you've got a true cross-section of Middle-earth harmony. One last bout of song and merriment before some of these characters leave Middle-earth forever.
The Skywalkers (Star Wars)
This would become a therapy session five seconds after the cocktails are handed out, but it's a necessary one. Thanks to the World Between Worlds, everyone is here: Shmi, Anakin, Padme, Luke, Leia, and Ben. Han and Chewie are there, Rey is there, let's throw in Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, and for maximum fireworks? Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Assuming that they don't kill each other by the end of the night (very likely), this could be a healing experience with a lot of amends being passed around. If nothing else, it'll give poor Shmi Skywalker the chance to look at her triumphant (and murderous) legacy. This is what happens when your virgin birth child gets their cuts cleaned by Liam Neeson, Shmi. Allllll of this. Not your fault in any way, though. Pass the Braised Shaak Roast!
The Fox Family (Fantastic Mr. Fox)
This is our favorite movie to watch on Thanksgiving, so it stands to reason that we want to insert ourselves into it.
You just can't beat this family (or this movie) when it comes to cheer and charm. You can try, but you will fail. This extended family adapts too, whether they're in their home, in a hole, or in a supermarket. The location doesn't matter. The company does.
You'll never find a more merry and fantastic stop-motion experience than this one... just don't try to step on Mr. Fox's toast. He's worked hard on it. Click-click.
Ellie (The Last of Us Part 2)
Has any character in any game suffered as much as Ellie? We don't want to spoil the experience of this game for anyone, so all we're going to say is that this girl needs us. She needs a damned hug and a meal free of danger. She needs love.
In this case, we're not trying to make ourselves feel better. We want to be there for her.
Having said that, Ellie is fictional.
There is not a current shortage of real-life Ellies. No matter how hard we've all had it, it's possible that someone else has had it worse. Maybe the best way to spend the holiday this year would not be trying to steal cartoon coins from a duck or talking with devils and elves. Maybe it would be finding a real-life Ellie, and being there for them however we are able.
Do what you can. Even the smallest acts of kindness and love make a difference. They are still possible, and they matter. If for nothing else, let's be thankful for that.