Family-Friendly TV Shows for the Holidays

For most people, Thanksgiving means football. But if you don't care about the game, what can you do instead? Try out one of these family-friendly TV box sets.

Here in the United States, Thanksgiving is synonymous with three things: Food, family, and football. For many people, there’s no better way to relax after devouring a heaping plate of turkey and all the trimmings than plopping down in an armchair to watch the long-awaited game.

But some of us don’t see the excitement in watching burly men in uniform tackle one another and chase a little ball back and forth around a field. So, while your cousins are busy cheering on their favorite team, and the kids are chasing each other around the house, what are you supposed to do?

Well, you could practice the tried-and-true art of conversation with the rest of your non-football-obsessed relatives – but that gets old eventually, especially when they keep asking about whether you’re ever going to get promoted/married/fill in the blank. Here’s another idea: While the others are watching the game, if there’s another TV in the house, you and the rest of the relatives can always sit down with a show of your own.

Since you’ll probably be spending a few days hanging out with the family, a TV box set may be your best bet. Here are a few of our favorite series that you won’t be embarrassed to watch with your relatives – and they make great Christmas gifts, too.

Gilmore Girls

Last year, this spectacular show finished up a 7-year run – and if you never checked it out, now’s your chance: The seventh season has just been released on DVD, so you can watch the entire series from beginning to end without any pesky ads. If you’ve got a Y chromosome, the name of the show may throw you off, but don’t let it: This series is a fascinating, witty, hilarious saga about the lives of Lorelai, a young mother, and her precocious daughter Rory, and their constant dramas with Lorelai’s parents and the quirky characters in the town of Stars Hollow – the perfect post-Thanksgiving treat for any family. Start with Season 1, or buy the whole set.


If you haven’t yet been introduced to Monk, the obsessive-compulsive detective, you’re in for a memorable encounter: Just don’t be offended if he doesn’t want to shake your hand. This inventive series is a twist on the classic whodunnit, with a brilliant protagonist that sees everything, but doesn’t want to touch anything. True, there are plenty of murders on-screen, but nothing you wouldn’t see on Law & Order – you may want to hook the little ones up with a Wiggles DVD instead, but teens and grandparents alike should have a great time trying to outwit one another and finger the killer before Detective Monk makes his grand proclamation. The show is still on the air, but you can start at the beginning or buy Seasons 1-4 as a package deal.

Everybody Loves Raymond

If you’re having trouble getting along with your relatives for just a few days over the holidays, it could be worse: Just imagine living directly across the street from them. In the popular, long-running sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond, Patricia Heaton and comedian Ray Romano star as a harried couple who constantly clash with their nosy neighbors: Ray’s parents, Frank and Marie. It’s not exactly a feel-good comedy, but it sure is funny – and if there’s a battle raging at home, it just might get you and your family members to laugh about your own problems, too. Start with Season 1, or buy the whole set for half the retail price.