You’ve spent days preparing the Thanksgiving meal, so why not put together a playlist that’s worthy of the feast? If you can’t handle one more thing added to your to-do list before tomorrow, see below for our own playlist of Thanksgiving- and food-related favorites. But if you’re rather be your own DJ, here some tips for tunes that will take you seamlessly from drinks through dinner and even cleanup.
- Before the guests arrive, it’s all about you. In that last busy hour while you’re prepping for arrivals, play your favorite upbeat playlist, the one you listen to when cleaning house or going to the gym. You need all the energy you can get.
- Know your audience. If you’ve celebrating Thanksgiving with friends from your chamber music group or rock band, then you know where to start. But the challenge of many Thanksgiving meals is that everyone from your grandparents to your littlest cousins are likely to be there. That’s why we tend toward classics that have stood the test of time.
- Keep the music reasonably upbeat at the beginning. You want to set a festive—though not frenetic—mood as guests arrive and start enjoying their first cocktail or glass of Champagne.
- Conversely, keep the music mellow—and not too loud—during dinner itself. It’s hard enough to hear everyone else when there are 8 or 10 at the table, so make sure that the music is quiet enough that the conversation can take center stage.
- Keep the music going after dinner. Guests will be settling in for after-dinner drinks, but you want to keep them from falling asleep on the couch—and perhaps even inspire them to help you clean up the kitchen—so keep the tunes going until the last guest leaves.
But don’t worry if you don’t have time to do this yourself: we’ve got you covered with our Thanksgiving Spotify playlist. We’ve started out with some fun food-related tunes from classic crooners like Nat King Cole and Louis Prima that will get everyone in a festive (and hungry!) mood and will bring a smile to the faces of grandma. Later the music takes a mellower turn, with mostly wordless autumn-themed tunes that are perfect for when you sit down to dinner. (In this section, how could we resist both Thelonius Monk’s “Stuffy Turkey” and Charlie Parker’s “Carvin’ the Bird”?) During the final third, we loosen things up a bit by adding some soul, blues and rock and continue the themes of family, food and giving thanks while everyone recuperates from dinner and starts washing up.