Arnold’s Thanksgiving: An Unorthodox Tradition

What comes to mind when Thanksgiving comes around the corner? The family gathering around? Football? Turkey legs and mashed potatoes?

How about… fireworks and hotdogs? Season 3 of Nickelodeon’s classic cartoon Hey Arnold features its special Thanksgiving episode, “Arnold’s Thanksgiving”, where the titular character yearns for a normal, traditional November holiday. In this episode, Arnold’s grandma believes it’s the 4th of July, and gets everyone in the house to participate in patriotic role playing and re-enactments of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Though, the problem for Arnold here is that this happens every year, which leaves him wondering what it would be like to actually have a “Thanksgiving”.

Embarrassed by the unorthodox celebration, Arnold decides to ditch his home for a few hours and comes across his schoolmate Helga, who’s also having a rough holiday. Together they try to find the perfect place to celebrate the ideal Thanksgiving.

But throughout the episode nothing ever seems to meet their expectations, and only then do they come to realize what truly makes the holiday special. Thanksgiving isn’t just about the Turkey, or the cheerful tables where people get together to share what they’re thankful for. Surely, that’s ideally what you want for the holiday, but what is most important is the people you spend it with. It’s not so much the actual celebration of the holiday, but it’s the act of celebrating together. Each family is different, and every person in those families contributes to the unique experience. After accepting the way their families hold their own Thanksgivings, Arnold and Helga choose to return home and finally enjoy the holiday.

Plans and expectations can be overruled by circumstance, especially during the holidays when things get hectic. But through it all, be sure to take it all in and rejoice at the chance to celebrate a day with your most loved family and friends, no matter what holiday it is!


Jeric Llanes

A graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in English, Jeric started working in film and comic book editing over the last year. When he’s not working he’s thinking of new story ideas to write down in his journal, and sneaks in some guitar playing when the writer’s block is too much to bear. Easy-going and always looking for the fun in things, Jeric believes in being open-minded and finding that universal connection with others when listening to the stories we all have to share.