The special opens with Lucy enticing Charlie Brown to kick the football she is holding. Charlie Brown at first refuses, correctly suspecting that Lucy will pull it away as always; but Lucy convinces him that kicking the football is a Thanksgiving tradition, and that being asked to do so is an honor. Charlie Brown decides that Lucy would never pull her trick on a national holiday, and ends up getting deceived and landing flat on his back once again.
Charlie Brown and Sally are preparing to go to their grandmother’s place for Thanksgiving dinner when Charlie Brown gets a phone call from Peppermint Patty, who invites herself over to Charlie Brown’s house for the holiday dinner. Two quick subsequent phone calls add Marcie and Franklin to the guest list, and since Charlie Brown cannot get a word in edgewise with Patty, he quickly finds himself in a quandary with no easy solution—at least not until Linus shows up.
Linus suggests to Charlie Brown that he could have two dinners: the first one for Patty and her friends, and then the second one at his grandmother’s home, forcing Charlie Brown to admit that all he knows how to make is “cold cereal and maybe toast.” Regardless, Linus recruits Snoopy and Woodstock to set up a ping-pong table and chairs in the backyard. Snoopy and Woodstock set the table, then Snoopy dons a chef hat, directing Charlie Brown, Linus and Woodstock in food preparation. When the food is readied, Snoopy and a reluctant Woodstock go to Snoopy’s doghouse and dress in Pilgrim clothing. They return to the house with Snoopy holding a toy musket, which fires unexpectedly and causes Charlie Brown to lose his patience.
The guests arrive and make their way to the backyard for the Thanksgiving feast. Linus leads the group in prayer that details the First Thanksgiving in 1621. Each plate setting includes an ice cream sundae (vanilla ice cream with whipped cream and a cherry) in a large sundae bowl. Snoopy serves up the food, throwing the plates to each guest Frisbee-style. Each person gets two slices of buttered toast, and a handful each of pretzel sticks, popcorn, and jelly beans…