Most are free-to-use (ie public domain or copyright-free) meaning the words can be copied and sung to at least one tune with no concerns about copyright or performance licensing - sometimes in a limited setting.
A small selection of hymns that are still copyright may also be included, if they are particularly appropriate.
Seasonal noteThanksgiving is a northern-hemisphere holiday, with roots in the traditional religious Harvest Festival, but greatly adapted to the particular cultural and social situation.
In the USA, it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, and is a secular holiday. It is usually regarded as remembering a celebration in 1621 at the Plymouth Plantation when the Pilgrims (religious refugees from England) invited the indigenous Americans to a feast to celebrate the successful harvest, and to thanks them for their help after the harvest failure the previous year. However there were other "thanksgiving" events in American history which also contribute to the appropriateness of a national day of thanks in this season of the year. These include September 8 1565 (feast of the birth of the Blessed Virgin), when Native Americans and Spanish settlers in Florida held a feast and celebrated Mass, and an event in 1598, when Spanish explorer Don Juan de Oñate requested the friars to say a Mass of Thanksgiving before he formally claimed the land north of the Rio Grande for the King of Spain.
In Canada, some people attribute modern Thanksgiving to 1578 when an explorer, Martin Frobisher, held a celebration but to give thanks for surviving the perilous journey from England amid storms and icebergs. Other link it more to Harvest celebrations from France. Today it is marked on the second Monday in October.
The diverse background to the holiday means that a range of different hymns may be suitable for church services on or close to Thanksgiving day.
- Virtually all hymns or Harvest Festival services are appropriate.
- Patriotic American (or Canadian) hymns
- Hymns focussed on thanking God - either something specific, or for simply existing and being known to human-kind.
A Thanksgiving (I Thank Thee O my God)Count Your Blessings
Dakota Hymn (Many and Great)
Father of Mercies in Thy Word
Father Whate'er of Earthly Bliss
For All The Blessings of the Year
For Thy Mercy and Thy Grace
From all That Dwell Below the Skies
Give Thanks to God Most High
Give Thanks to God the Lord - Petersen
Give Thanks Unto the Lord Jehovah
God of our Fathers Whose Almighty Hand
God Opens Wide His Hand
Great God of Nations Now to Thee
How Good it is to Thank the Lord
In Our Day of Thanksgiving
Lord we Thank Thee for the Pleasure
My God I Thank Thee
O Give Thanks to Him Who Made
O Lord all Glorious Life of Life
O Praise ye the Lord Praise Him in the Height
O Render Thanks to God Above
O Thou Whose Bounty Fills my Cup
Over the River and Through the Woods
Sing to the Lord a Joyful Song
Thank Him for the Sunshine - public domain in the US, possibly not elsewhere
Thou Gracious Power
To Thee Eternal Soul be Praise
To Thee O God we Render Thanks
We Lift Our Hearts In Thanks Today
We Thank You Lord - Petersen
With Grateful Heart My Thanks I Bring
Whole Hearted Thanksgiving to Thee I will Bring
Suggested free-use patriotic hymns (American)All Praise and Glad Thanksgiving - Farrell
America the Beautiful
God Bless Our Native Land
O Say Can You See by the Dawn's Early Light
Thanksgiving hymns for childrenFor Thy Gracious Blessing (a round)
If You’re Thankful and You Know it - a variation of "If you're Happy ..."
Suggested hymns which may still be copyrightAll My Days - Murray/Schutte
Father, We Thank Thee Who hast Planted - Tucker
Give Thanks to the Lord - Schutte
Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart - Smith
God, Whose Giving Knows no Ending - Edwards
In Thanksgiving and Love - Nnam
In the Lord I'll be Ever Thankful - Taizé / Berthier
Let All Things Now Living - David
Lift up your Voice- Fawcett
Lord it is Good - Talbot
Once Again - Redman
Song of Thanksgiving - Norbert
Thanks be to God - Dean
Suggestions about hymns that could be included are welcome: leave a comment below.