Nobody does Turkey Day quite like our favorite Upper East Siders. A Gossip Girl Thanksgiving is sure to include family, friends, and fashion amidst the festivities—not to mention the unrelenting schemes. When the day’s drama has subsided, though, Serena, Blair, Chuck, Nate, and Dan have shown us time and time again that the most important things to be thankful for will always prevail: friends and family.
Season 1, Episode 9: “Blair Waldorf Must Pie”
Don’t mess with a classic. In this first ever Gossip Girl Thanksgiving episode, flashbacks from last Thanksgiving show Serena wrestling with her drunken “party girl” antics and Blair with her bulimia. During the present-day Thanksgiving, Blair briefly battles with her feelings for Chuck, as Serena discovers that they slept together…twice. Finding herself exiled from her family’s intended Thanksgiving plans with the Waldorfs, Serena leads the Van der Woodsen trio to the Humphrey household for the holiday—where it’s eventually revealed to Serena, Dan, Eric, and Jenny that Rufus and Lily have a romantic past.
Meanwhile, Nate is trying to unify his family amidst the unsavory scandal of his father’s crimes—and later finds the Captain on the ground in a catatonic overdose. The episode concludes with the Van der Woodsen family enjoying their traditional Thanksgiving meal of diner French fries, Blair sharing a heart-to-heart with her mother amidst Eleanor’s divorce, and the Humphreys engaging in a classic game of Thanksgiving football. Our only complaint about the entire episode? Chuck had no screen time!
Season 2, Episode 11: “The Magnificent Archibalds”
Jenny is secretly camping out at the Van der Woodsen-Bass household, and is trying to become emancipated from her parents in pursuit of her fashion career—a devastating realization for Rufus as he tries to bring his daughter back home.
The artistic Aaron abandons his once-open relationships, declaring his exclusive committal to Serena—along with his sobriety. Serena lies that she also doesn’t drink anymore—but after a run-in with Aaron at the grocery store, Dan accidentally reveals her troubled past.
Nate’s dad returns from hiding in Dominica—and after a confrontation with the FBI, the Captain’s plan to commit extortion is revealed. Nate demands that his father turn himself in to regain the respect of his family. He emotionally agrees, and the feds come to put an end to the Archibald antics—finally rendering Mr. Archibald someone that Nate could be proud of.
Eric unveils Bart’s apparent infatuation with having his private investigator follow the family—so Lily, Serena, and Eric once again find themselves at a diner on Thanksgiving.
Blair is convinced that Eleanor’s sweet-hearted Cyrus is impeding upon her Thanksgiving traditions, only to later discover that he and Eleanor are secretly engaged. Eleanor and Cyrus arrange for Blair’s father to spend Thanksgiving in New York, an enchanting surprise for Blair as she learns to welcome the new traditions that accompany her evolving family.
Season 3, Episode 11: “The Treasure of Serena Madre”
Lily declares her desire for a modest Thanksgiving, but Rufus, Eric, and Jenny conspire to invite CeCe—putting together an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner with the whole Gossip Girl gang. After an awkward three-way with Vanessa and Olivia (Hilary Duff), Dan contemplates his potentially romantic feelings for his long-time friend Vanessa. In an effort to get some time alone to reflect, he recruits Vanessa’s adamant activist of a mother—hoping to divert Vanessa’s attention. His efforts, ultimately, are for naught. Vanessa spends most of the holiday bickering with her mom as they join in the Upper East Side Thanksgiving dinner à la Van der Woodsen-Humphreys.
Serena is having a not-so-secret affair with Nate’s cousin, Congressman Tripp Vanderbilt—who is, at the time, trying to leave his wife Maureen. Lily, unknowing of the affair, invites Maureen and Tripp to dinner—unsurprisingly leading to seething tension throughout the festivities. Nate, unable to put his resurfacing feelings for Serena aside, tries to put an end to the affair. Throughout a series of other dramatic family reveals throughout dinner, Serena runs away to Long Island with Tripp—much to the dismay of Lily and Nate.
Blair, meanwhile, finds that her mother is withholding a secret from her, and in a paranoid spell she becomes [mistakenly] convinced that Eleanor is pregnant. It’s later revealed that Dorota is the pregnant one, and Eleanor and Cyrus have bought a house in Paris.
Season 4, Episode 10: “Gasilt”
After Chuck’s Saints and Sinners Ball, Serena finds herself lost and confused in an unidentifiable room—having been drugged during a scheme devised by Juliet, Jenny, and Vanessa. Pursuing their own respective career goals, Chuck and Blair decide not to see each other for the time being—but the entire crew comes together at the hospital to get to the bottom of Serena’s perceived overdose. With everyone convinced that Serena has reverted back to her old ways, Lily decides to admit her to the Ostroff Center to combat her alleged addiction. Only Dan believes that Serena hadn’t done this to herself—but just as the two are ready to run away together, a Gossip Girl blast convinces even Serena that she has a problem.
Throughout this, Nate visits his father in prison, who is trying to win back the affection and trust of Mrs. Archibald. Nate, to his dismay, finds that his mother is filing for divorce, and tries to convince her to give his dad a second chance.
Season 6, Episode 8: “It’s Really Complicated”
Serena and Dan, newly dating, host a Thanksgiving dinner together with their closest friends. Concerned about the budding Serena-Dan romance, Blair and Sage scheme to bring Serena’s recent ex, Steven, to dinner as well.
With the return of Bart, the battle of the Basses is in full-force—and Chuck is determined to uncover his father’s criminal malfeasance and reclaim the business he built. Nate, Blair, and Chuck discover that Bart’s accountant, Bruce Caplan, has died under mysteriously ominous circumstances—undoubtedly the doing of a menacing Bart Bass. Blair and Chuck devise a plan to reveal Bart’s handiwork to Lily over dinner; Lily reinstates her trust in Chuck, realizing that nobody—not even she—is safe under Bart’s thumb.
Dan has also been publishing a chapter-by-chapter series with Georgina as an unfiltered sequel to his book Inside. Midway through dinner, the ever-anticipated and scathing Serena chapter is published—causing Nate to erupt with a cathartic right-hook to Dan’s nose. The other friends remain at the table in a state of mutual contempt—but the drama throughout the remainder of this final season has only just begun.