Sen. Holly Thompson Rehder’s Legislative Column for Nov. 19, 2021

Traditions of Thanksgiving

Of all the holidays we celebrate each year, Thanksgiving is my favorite. I love the fact that we don’t focus on giving gifts, but simply give thanks for all the blessings we’ve received. In fact, as my family sits down to enjoy our Thanksgiving feast we have a tradition. We go around the table and each person shares what they are most thankful for from the previous year. It’s a wonderful way to reflect on all that God has provided and puts us in the right spirit of this joyous day.

This is just one of many traditions I share with my family on Thanksgiving. For years, my sisters and I skipped the Black Friday sales and, instead, met with our families for lunch before we all headed to the tree farm to pick out our Christmas trees and an ornament that symbolized our year. These days, the tradition lives on with my children, grandbabies, nieces and nephews. Getting to spend that extra time with my family gives me even more to be thankful for!

Our Thanksgiving meal is also a wonderful tradition that we have passed down through the years. I love to cook and so enjoy preparing turkey to share with my family. My daughter and I make my Papa’s chicken and dumplings; I’m so thankful he took the time to show me how to make them before he passed so many years ago. My daughter-in-law now makes the chicken and cornbread dressing, and I have to say it’s amazing. My son-in-law’s mother brings her famous apple dumplin’s, and I whip up a “chocolate delight,” a delicious concoction of chocolate pudding, cream cheese, whipped topping and graham cracker crust. It’s tradition to hold the meal at my house, and everyone pitches in. There’s laughter and wild times with the kids, and there’s love and joy in abundance as we work together in the kitchen.

I have no doubt that each of you has your own Thanksgiving traditions that are just as dear to you as my family’s rituals are to me. Whatever makes the holiday special for you, I hope everyone takes time to reflect on the blessings God has given and give thanks. We are so fortunate to live in America and enjoy freedoms most people around the world will never know. As someone who has experienced both want and plenty in life, I know that God always provides, and for that we can be thankful.

My wish for each of you is a joyous and bountiful holiday, shared with the people you love. I pray that you and yours are healthy and that God’s blessings continue to reign in your lives. Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Contact Me

I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459. You may write me at Holly Thompson Rehder, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, Rm 433, Jefferson City, MO 65101, send an email to or visit