KSN/KODE — As we celebrate the season of gratitude, our reporters, anchors, and weathermen are opening up about the recipes, traditions, and stories that hold a special place in their hearts. You’re invited to share in the warmth and joy of the Thanksgiving season with our team.

“I don’t really love turkey, but growing up, I always LOVED the sides. Especially stuffing and green bean casserole.”

Jessica Schaer

Jessica says green bean casserole was the first dish she made on her own since becoming an adult and started celebrating her own holiday traditions, away from her hometown in Florida.

Breaking News & Breaking Bread

Jessica says her family’s Thanksgivings have always been simple.

“We gather as many family members as possible together. Once I got into the news business, I’d be away from home for many holidays (there’s still news on holidays!) and I always enjoyed everyone who had to work the holiday bringing in their own dish and having a Thanksgiving feast right here at the news station,” she said.

Turkey Troubles in Tinseltown

“While it’s not a tradition, I have a favorite (embarrassing) story – I went to college in my early 20s far away from my Florida hometown, all the way in Los Angeles where my older brother and I lived in the same apartment complex. We would not be traveling home for the Thanksgiving break, nor would our parents be flying from Florida to join us. A couple of our friends would also be staying at school for the holiday, so we decided to have a get together. I went to the store and spent a couple hundred dollars that I didn’t really have as a broke college student,” Jessica said.

“I came home with a ginormous turkey and all the fixings. My brother about fell on the floor laughing. His idea for our gathering was tater tots and nachos while watching football, not the entire feast I had picked out. We, of course, didn’t even know how to cook a turkey and that was not going to be our year to learn either. I ended up taking back all of the Thanksgiving fixings to the grocery store and we ended up just eating the easy college-kid foods that year. In true big brother fashion, it’s a story he’s never let me forget.”

Jessica and her brother from years past decorating the Christmas tree around Black Friday.

Gratitude and Reunion in Missouri

Jessica shares that she is grateful for the simple things in life, and to have her mother close by after the passing of her dear father.

“I have a roof over my head, a wonderful husband, two adorable pups, and family close by. This will be the first Thanksgiving for my mom here in Missouri. She moved in December of last year after my dad passed away. I am grateful she moved closer to be here to celebrate all the holidays together. Since the news biz usually means moving away from family, she’s here now and this past year has been the first time in several years I’ve celebrated holidays with a family member.”