Everyone’s Welcome At This Turkey Table

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.

The living room, ready for guests.

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.”

Clockwise from top left: Eli, Lincoln and Matt Debenham, Caissie St. Onge.

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.”

9 responses to “Everyone’s Welcome At This Turkey Table

  1. Lisa Marie Alter

    Giving thanks for people like Caissie and Matt who (despite what people might say about Westport being a town of entitled, snotty folk), help give this place its “heart and soul”…
    BTW, I was gonna ask you, Caissie, if Eli was related to you – cuz he definitely is a special, polite, caring young man… that “apple” fell close to your kind and generous tree ! 😇
    Best wishes for a Happy – and fun – Thanksgiving !

  2. Great thing Eli and Lincoln are good peaple they are smart have a great thanksgiving

  3. Caissie and Matt’s gracious hospitality is legendary. My daughter, Caroline and I remember their incredibly fun Halloween parties. Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Great story. (And it should be noted that Caissie and Matt are both writers who, in moving here from the city, illustrate Westport’s ongoing attraction for writers and artists.)

  5. Paul L. Woodcome, Sr.

    Happy Thanksgiving Caissie, Matt, Lincoln, and Eli. God’s blessings.

  6. Truly BEAUTIFUL my sister!!!! 😘💜🎶

  7. What a lovely story. What a lovely family. Bravo!

  8. apples don’t fall far from the tree caossoe has always been a caring person the same as her mom donnna..happy thanksgiving to all marge perrow

  9. oops sorry caissie spelled yourr name very differently