Caissie St. Onge will never forget the day her younger son Lincoln was born. It was the same day the family moved to Westport. While she was in the hospital, friends hauled furniture into her recently purchased home.
Back in Brooklyn, Caissie — a TV industry veteran, who is now co-executive producer of Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live” — usually worked right up to Thanksgiving.
Because it was hard for many young co-workers to get home for the holiday, Caissie and her husband, Matt Debenham, hosted a few for the turkey meal.
Several years ago, they revived that tradition here.
“We live in one of the smallest houses in Westport,” Caissie says. “But we can fit 20 people in our living room.”
Friends loan tables and chairs. This year, for the first time, Caissie and Matt got a tent for the deck.
Some guests take the train from New York. Caissie’s son Eli shuttles them back and forth from the station.
Eli is now a freshman at Southern Connecticut State University; Lincoln is sophomore at Staples High. As they grow older, they like the event more. Both are good at talking with adults — though the guests include random children too.
Each year, the number grows. Caissie does not know some of them. “They’re friends of friends of friends,” she says. “Everyone is welcome.”
One newcomer tomorrow will be a woman spending her first Thanksgiving away from her now-grown children.
Thanksgiving can be pressure-filled, Caissie notes. “It can be lonely. Even if you stay home and cook with your family, it can be stressful. So I figured, since I’m cooking, I might as well cook for everybody.”
Caissie’s family provides turkey and ham. Some guests bring wine or dessert. It’s all served buffet-style.
In the past, people started coming at 2 p.m. This year they’ve pushed it back to 3.
“We’ve had snafus, like blown fuses and the timing for cooking being wrong,” Caissie says cheerfully.
Many guests stay until 9 or 10.
“It goes by in a flash,” Caissie says. “I wish it could last longer. We really enjoy welcoming people into our home.”