The Thanksgiving Letter

November 26th, 2009

 (submitted by Kara at www.californiakara.com)

And finally… after years of  trying, Marney agreed to sit down with AFP and discuss her famous letter.

2,966 Responses to “The Thanksgiving Letter”

  1. Kevin says:

    I’m surprised she doesnt go and charge everybody a per plate fee just for the obvious privilege of having Thanksgiving dinner at her house.

  2. Kevin says:

    If anyone EVER sent me an invitation/letter written like that I would tell them to F–K OFF and take my family to a nice restaurant (or even McDonalds) for Thanksgiving instead.

  3. evenstar says:

    That lady is crazy but I love her style. The ceramic stand with the plant in the background is fab!

  4. ericcub78 says:

    Why the hell can’t Marney cook the Thanksgiving meal herself? All the Thanksgivings that I’ve been too the host cooks most of the meal and if the guests asks if they can bring something, they are usually told no its covered, or to bring something like a dessert, soda, etc. something to add to the meal.

    • Laia says:

      All families do things a little differently. I’ve been to ones where the host does everything, ones that were more of a potluck, ones that were totally catered, and ones where the host makes the main dishes and guests bring the desserts, booze, and appetizers.

      Personally, I don’t think the host should be expected to do everything. That’s so much pressure & work. I think the best is for everyone to bring a dish, but you don’t have to be Marney-level controlling about it haha.

    • Erin says:

      My family does potluck – everyone brings a side. But this is ridiculous. If she has this many rules she needs to just cook it her damn self.

  5. Shaun says:

    To family/friends of ‘Marney…’ If you were lucky enough to this Thanksgiving dinner, or any event that included Marney for that matter, please, Please, PLEASE share your experiences with us.

    What strange sequence of events occurred that caused sweet ole Marney to become such a psychotic, anal-retentive spoon/casserole nazi…?

    What is it like attending an event hosted by Marney…?

    Do you find it necessary to sedate yourself with mass quantities of alcohol before showing up at one of these events…?

    Is Marney married…?

    Does she have children…?

    Are all of Marney’s relatives as crazy as she is…?

    When you receive an invitation like the one above from Marney are you allowed to bring guests? If so can I PLEASE go with you?

  6. Lisa says:

    What the hell is a pie knife?
    I will use any damn pumpkin pie recipe I want.
    How did I go all these years without knowing what a regulation size casserole dish is?
    Why are you stacking the casseroles?
    Who eats ice cream toppings on Thanksgiving? The ice cream IS the topping…FOR THE PIE.

  7. amy says:

    wow…..i couldn’t watch the entire interview. just amazing.

  8. I Love This says:

    I love this. I always get a laugh. I couldn’t watch the entire interview, too painful. I cook Thanksgiving dinner every year for my family. I cook it all. You call and ask what can you bring? My response is whatever the hell you want. I cook the turkey, buy the honey baked ham, make the spinach madalaine, we have green bean/artichoke casserole, cranberry sauce FROM THE DAMN CAN (don’t try to change it, revolt happens), mashed potatoes, bourbon sweet potatoes, gravy, sweet yeast rolls and lemon ice box pie (meyer lemon tree in the backyard otherwise I wouldn’t bother with desert. I don’t eat sweets.). My MIL brings pecan pie, one daughter brings sweet potato praline pie, son brings bacon wrapped asparagus to grill (deep south here), and step kids usually bring veggie sides. Somehow brownies always show up and I still haven’t figured out who supplies them. It’s the only holiday I enjoy and I love cooking for it. Show up, bring whatever, hell bring herring for all I care (I will eat that). Just come. And bring the three-buck chuck. We have no pride, just a whole lot of happiness.

    • Traci says:

      I’ll be there!! I usually do all the cooking for Thanksgiving but your menu sounds wicked delicious and just might have to steal a few of those for mine! :)

  9. oh good grief says:

    I wouldn’t go. Period. If someone in my family told me to fix and bring 15 pounds of mashed potatoes I would tell them to screw off. No way would I get stuck making that many “mashies” when I hate the things. This woman is a control freak and I would happily bow out of any family dinners if she was involved. Seems to me she is trying to create a holiday scene from a post card or something. Get a grip woman – this is real life. NO ONE and I mean NO ONE wants turnips or mashed squash or asparagus at a holiday meal. Give me a slice of pizza and I’m good to go. Thank goodness that my family has FUN at our gatherings and one never knows what you will find on the buffet table – there is everything from a bag of Cheetos (submitted by my cousin in college) to Aunt Mable’s “famous” homemade fruitcake. In between are jello dishes (can’t ever get away from them), store bought rolls, and a turkey that might be edible, depending on who was brave enough to fix it that year. We always have the stand-by pizza rolls “just in case”! Learn to lighten up Marney and you might actually enjoy a holiday gathering one of these years!!!!

    • Yikes says:

      Wow, your family gatherings sound embarrassing. I’d much rather eat at Marney’s, where nobody has to rely on effin pizza rolls ‘just in case’ you’re too incompetent to prepare a decent meal. Yeesh…

  10. Joshua says:

    I wonder who brought the whiskey.

  11. Roy Truax says:

    In this lady’s defense…

    A.) She’s cute… albeit in a certain “wild-eyed” way, which goes a long way with me.

    B.) The family get-together is apparently HUGE. If she is the person in charge of it, or the hosting household, a decent amount of order is probably required. Perhaps historic family holidays merit the tone of this letter.

    • Celeste says:

      We always have large family gatherings, like 50 people. It does not require anywhere near this level of control. My mom is often the host. We make two huge turkeys and at least 20 pounds of mashed potatoes. My aunt brings pie. Other people bring sides, some are late, some food is out of a can, some dishes are far from regulation, but it all works out fine. We enjoy each other. The food is a perk and no one is going for perfection.

  12. Cree says:

    Oh.my.god. Can you PLEASE say “passive-aggressive???”

    • ThanksgiWho wving Baby says:

      Nothing passive about her letter.

      I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Marney for saying what everyone else is dying to say on Thanksgiving. Nothing is worse than casserole dishes that don’t stack in an organized manner and that leak because the guest is too lazy or cheap to buy a dish with a properly fitting plastic lid. My only problem with her is her taste in wine. She should switch to Rombauer chard. It’s much more delicious.

      You keep going girl!

      • Greg says:

        I question her taste in beer. Coors and Corona? It’s free, but I’d have to bring something with flavor. And enough for everyone if they wanted it.

  13. NJinGA says:

    I wish I could give her the gift of letting go. May about a dozen consecutive spa days, with lots of Close du bois Chardonnay and Haagen Daz peppermint bark ice cream. It all works out one way or another without the micro-managing b.

  14. Scott says:

    If I were going to this dinner, I’d want to sit next to Amy Misto. She is obviously the favorite aunt!

  15. Marney wannabe says:

    In a way I am very jealous of Marney. She has the balls to say what anyone hosting a large holiday dinner thinks, but hides behind a veil of a “can you please” coupled with a silent hope that there is no repeat of last year!
    Her requests are a little over the top, but the most egregious of them even have some merit. Regulation size casseroles? Our buffet is like a Tetris game each year. People bring things that don’t fit. I make it work, but it is a bit disorganized and items that should be grouped together are often separated. I’d never go to her lengths, but if she has a ton of people, it could be a problem. Foil? Hmm, stack ability aside all those foil tops laying around (we prob had 15 of them this year) create a mess. They have food and condensation on them. They can dirty up a buffet or counter pretty fast. Wine specification? Well, I can be a bit of a wine snob so if you ask someone to bring wine, you walk a fine line trying to request a wine that fits the meal, appeases most, doesn’t break the bank AND is readily available to most. Some people assume wine is wine and bring the cheapest awful wine on the shelf. I don’t expect my guests to shell out a lot of money but it should be drinkable. If they are Three-buck-chuck fans, a Clos du Bois doesn’t cost much more, but they may not know what else to bring and are gun-shy choosing something. I’ve been very disappointed bringing a moderately higher priced wine to a gathering (assuming others were doing the same) and having everyone else bring cheap crap wine. They’ll happily chug mine down while they contributed absolute swill. Good wines don’t have to be pricey, but think it through a bit before you drink someone’s $65 bottle when yours was $3. Lesson learned: make sure everyone has a clear idea of what to bring. As for the “you’re married now and must contribute”, some people get treated like children their entire lives. The baby of our family is now 30, married, and better off than anyone else in the family financially, but never contributes to family dinners. That couple just shows up…and it’s quite a disservice to everyone else who contributes time, talent or treasure to the meal. I finally requested that they bring a dessert. I wish I could have been Marney because I did not specify and we ended up with a generic store bought $8 dessert. Of course it tastes fine, but everyone else contributed something heartfelt or special.
    Lastly, We also don’t know her family. Maybe they’re the terrible ones.
    Or maybe they are so straightforward this doesn’t bother them.
    Maybe I am projecting on Marney or making excuses for a truly horrible person, but many people can identify with her intentions. Most of us try to be polite and just get through it….but one year if I snap, you might be reading my letter online!!!

  16. Gladly not OCD says:

    Turnips? Really? This crazy lady would run screaming at our family Thanksgiving! Yes we do have a menu of sorts…..I will bring this and you can bring that…..usually what that person does best. My sister-in-law is asked to bring her baked beans every year because they are great! We don’t care what she brings them in…..just bring them!

  17. Petal says:

    Most. Awkward. Interview. Ever.

  18. Amanda says:

    The interview was FAR more awkward than the letter! I would hate to be around her. She’s a control freak who doesn’t even allow herself to speak her mind… I just feel sorry for her.

  19. jennj says:

    I wouldn’t be able to relax around her!

  20. Aron says:

    Well, I for one welcome our Thanksgiving dinner overlord.

    One does not simply walk into mordor, or the holidays, unprepared.

  21. Rosemary says:

    I can’t help it, if I got a letter like that I would make the opposite of whatever she wanted and would be sure to use tin foil just to piss her off. I would not be able to help myself. I had a very controlling mother and just refused to be controlled as an adult.

  22. NJP says:

    “A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.”

    -Aesop, “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse”

  23. Kirsten says:

    Would LOVE to know who leaked the letter. It’s a fun read and makes me thankful for the family I have (which thankfully does NOT include Marney).

    • Required says:

      My guess would be Amy Misto.

    • jenny says:

      The letter was leaked by a coworker of someone who received the email and was laughing about it.

      Marney’s laser eyes are terrifying.

      And she still doesn’t see the humor of the letter. Bet she sent out an identical one the next year, but with a nondisclosure clause.

  24. kren says:

    Does anyone think this is all a joke???? She did this and the interview for fun????? Yeah, I do.

  25. Becky says:

    I think the letter is funny overall. Still, it’s insulting that she says, “Now that you’re married you can contribute on an adult level.” So…..getting married makes one an adult? Not being married means I don’t have to do anything?

    Screw that.

    • Smiling says:

      I get what she means by this… She is not saying that you cannot contribute when you are single. I think she means that you are part of your parents’ family when you are single. So she is inviting families and have assigned each family a list of things to bring. Of course you can pick up an item or two from your family’s assigned list (why make your parents do it all). But when you marry, you have established a new family and now have to step up to the plate and be responsible for your own list.

      This is the rule in my culture around Vietnamese New Year’s, too. Now that you’re married, it’s time to dish out the lucky envelopes.

      • Ummm says:

        Clearly, Marney is not Vietnamese.

        While I swear I am not trying to disrespect you or your culture, I can totally understand what Becky is saying as I also found it insulting as well. Reminds me of internalized sexism.

  26. Misty says:

    It’s fascinating that – whether this letter is real or not, it generates such intense response from the peanut gallery.

    The responses say so much more than the letter does, actually.

    • Bret says:

      This is so true. Personally I think the letter and the video are parody, but regardless it’s fun to read the oh-so-serious replies.

  27. Marney Fan Club (SE Branch) says:

    True, she could have been a little more delicate, but then she wouldn’t be the Marney they know (and obviously keep coming back for every Thanksgiving dinner).

    She’d be on her way to being Stepford Marney with a frozen smile, perfect dinner, and never any complaints. Somehow I doubt that is what her family wants.

    • Micah says:

      Great call! I completely agree. As a non-Marney having grown up in a family of Marney’s, I can really sympathize with her. In my family it’s not that we don’t know how to let go, it’s that when we do we get burned, and so order, routine, and structure exist to counter that.

  28. YouGoGirl says:

    This is absolutely delicious. Thank you, Marney, for the fun read. Don’t listen to the critics. You are organized, articulate, and yes–a bit uptight–but people like you make the world go round. My life would be complete if you released your Christmas letter.

  29. Dawn says:

    I’d have to opt out of being in Marney’s family…and eat alone at home out of a bowl with a foil lid. This is ridiculous. Isn’t Thanksgiving supposed to be a day of THANKS? Like THANKS for thinking to bring something. Or THANKS for keeping me company.

  30. Marney Fan Club says:

    I don’t understand why people can’t deal with this or read between the lines (whatever the font / character).

    And I agree w/Well Mell, if you’re really family you’re comfortable to say things honestly.

    W/respect to her attention to detail, if you look a little closer, you see she’s doing it on the familys’ behalf (and hello maybe to protect her sanity as well??!), if you read her instructions for cooking asparagus: “no cheese sauces, you know how Mike is.”

    I imagine she’s a great lady and her family love and appreciate her for who she is (ie: not a Stepford Mom you shove in the kitchen to prepare a perfect meal all with a frozen smile).

  31. Jellen says:

    Ugh. I have a sister like this. It took me almost 50 years to cut her out of my life. If I were to receive a letter like this, I would not even go to this dinner. Can you imagine what the actual gathering itself was like? *shudders*

  32. Well Mel says:

    I like her! If you’re family, you feel comfortable to say things honestly. The precision of the letter just makes it easier to please the person whose home you’re going to. I would love to have her in my family, heck… I would love her to be my mom! WAY TO GO, MARNEY!! (see what I did there, all caps). :-)

  33. Lynny says:

    I find this letter hilarious. Every family needs a Marney, and every family needs someone who is just the opposite. It helps with the balance and the dynamics. I have a brother in law who was supposed to bring mashed potatoes for a holiday meal, showed up with a bag of raw potatoes, and didn’t understand the problem.

  34. Meticulous organiser says:

    I think this lady is a great organiser. If I had to turn up to a meal with enough, but not too many mashed potatoes for more than 2 people I would have *no idea* how much to prepare. I certainly would not be insulted by her advice! It’s great she gives helpful tips on quantities and also appropriate containers (so everything will fit on the table!). She’s clearly been lumbered with hosting this event previously and so she knows what needs to happen to make it all work out. Go Marney!

    I live in UK and we dont have thanksgiving. I do however, meet with a group of friends a few times a year for singing and we all have lunches which we bring contributions for. It is always a disaster. There are too many people needing the oven for quiches and pizzas, bread etc. and always too much of one thing (bread or dips). There are foods that clash – curries and salads! It is a disaster. Whoever’s unfortunate enough to host ends up doing everything and their kitchen is a bomb site.

    Last time I had nowhere to sit and all the hot food had gone before I got a look in. This was true for the host and also another attendee. I very nearly decided to walk out and go to a cafe. I wished I had done the usual and brought something I knew would make a balanced enough lunch for me if needs be – a cous cous salad and cold quiche for example.

    It just does not work unless you have a list and ask people to do specific things. No-one ever wants to take charge of this in our group – everyone’s so dreadfully polite and unassuming! And so no-one has a good meal and we all struggle. I wish we had a Marney!

    Personally I am very particular about things in our tiny flat and food is no exception. I don’t think Marney went far enough with her details really. I would’ve wanted to say how much butter and salt to add to the mash for example. But then I live with a scatterbrain who cannot seem to do anything sequentially or with common sense and I have to tidy up after him constantly. It makes me more and more up tight because I’m the only adult in the household! And I would love to be the one who relaxes and just goes with the flow but then our flat would be covered in jam, oven left on all night, taps left running to flood the bathroom and the front door open for anyone to walk in, within 10 minutes. I fully sympathise with Marney on this position. Other people can be so self absorbed and thoughtless. We should welcome people setting out tasks logically so that everyone benefits on the day!

  35. Fat Betty says:

    As we say here in the South……bless her heart.

    • Benny says:

      LOL – YES! “Bless her heart”!
      You’re much kinder than I would have been!

      • Becky says:

        Benny, you must not be from the South because after ‘Bless her heart’ she then gets verbally stabbed in the back!
        This was added to a Chowhound site thread on Thanksgiving.

        • Melissa says:

          Well, you do know that down here in the South we dont hide our crazy people, We dress them up and sit them out on the front porch. The more eccentric the better. So, we would say bless her heart and then tell her story like we have bragging rights! lol

    • Jo says:

      As in… “Well bless her little heart! She’s just as nutty as a fruitcake on a pecan farm on the week before Christmas! ” LMBO! Born and raised in SouthEast Georgia and yes that would be spoken with a TRUE southern drawl.

    • Louise says:

      Or, “Bless her heart! Amy, you know she’s crazy. You just bring your plastic cups and paper plates like you’ve always done.”

      Although I don’t think Ole Marney would allow plastic cups and paper plates…hmm.

  36. John Smith says:

    ROFL. I’d bring instant mashed potatos in a ziplock bag, just to watch her head explode.

    • Elizabeth says:

      ROFL, Well then, that makes TWO of us. I think Marney has her priorities misplaced. Her head truly would explode at one of MY dinners/events. We get together to be TOGETHER and to enjoy one ANOTHER, the “food” is just an added bonus. I go out of my way to accommodate everyone. So what if someone doesn’t own a casserole dish, or their food item isn’t up to your “standards”. Dress it up the best you can (or don’t) and sit back and have FUN. :)

    • Beth says:

      You and me both, John. Hilarity!

  37. MarneyFanClub says:

    I love Marney! Yeah, she’s a little “intimidating”…but people like her make life interesting. She was probably a great General in a prior life.

  38. Many people understand says:

    I can see both sides of this situation. Some people must be led bu the nose on these type of occasions because they are so scatterbrained. They will show up with the ingredients for the stuff in a bag and expect you to provide the dish and oven to cook the dish and then try to con you into making it too. I am fortunate to not have a relative like that. I do think that the recipe specific instructions are a bit overboard, but understand that the mashed potatoes won’t fit on the buffet table in that oversized bowl. I would NEVER put hot mashed potatoes into a plastic container considering the chemicals it would release into the food. My solution, bring the potatoes in the smaller casserole and the remainder can come in the oversized bowl for the refilling.
    As for Amy, just buy your pies at Costco, they are great!! You have a problem with being bossed around and I don’t blame you.

    It could be worse, Marney could go gluten and dairy free anytime!! BTW Marney, WRITING IN ALL CAPITALS IS YELLING!!

    Suggestion to all is stop having this event at Marney’s or just shut up and do what she says. When it’s your turn you can make the rules.

    • B Figueroa says:

      ” They will show up with the ingredients for the stuff in a bag and expect you to provide the dish and oven to cook the dish and then try to con you into making it too.”

      YES! I have a couple people in our family who do just that!

      And maybe her family is just like her and expect the perfect dinner, so she’s helping them contribute properly lol.

  39. Ilsa says:

    where is the discussion from Marney?!

  40. oh no says:

    Oh wow.

  41. sahmmy1 says:

    I can’t imagine anyone having less of a sense of humor than this poor woman. I mean, I know people like this exist, it’s just amazing that she cannot laugh at herself and her crazy letter. I kind of feel badly for her and of course, her poor family who must live with a woman who would actually write a letter like this. All this being said, why doesn’t AFP sell those Marny platters anymore? I always meant to get one!

  42. JanErinn says:

    Love Marney! You go crazy lady!

  43. Marney Lover says:

    Check out those gorgeous green eyes! And the way that matching cardigan makes them POP! This woman knows what’s going on. Lovely smile, tasteful jewelry, good figure. Society as a whole would do well to be more like this lady. Smart, sexy, and to the point.

    If you don’t follow her instructions Thanksgiving dinner might be lukewarm… but Marney herself will always be SUPER HOT!!!

    Rock on, gorgeous, rock on!

  44. KsBear2 says:

    1. If Marney wants the pumpkin pie made to HER recipe, she needs to make it herself rather than demanding that someone else use that recipe..
    2. How man of us have casserole dishes with lids? I have ONE, but I just bought it a couple of weeks ago. Up until then, I had none with lids.
    3. I also come from a large family and we put out a list asking who is bringing what. We don’t “require” anyone to bring a specific dish or prepare it to a specific recipe.
    4. Demanding which brand of chardonnay to bring? Really. Get over yourself, Marney.

  45. April says:

    I actually thought this was a joke..lol wow.

  46. Rian says:

    How easy it is to judge. I come from a very large family and it is not easy to organise a party for a very large family. I can well understand Marny . Maybe she had some bad experiences that led her to this way of reacting, I can really understand. We organised a party for my parents 40th wedding anniversary, including dinner, and there were people complaining about time between dinner and dancing. There is no way to please everyone. Let’s be grateful for people like Marney that host parties for their entire judgemental families. That way we all have something to talk about.

  47. kylie link says:

    I have 4 casseroles in my oven consisting of sliced turkey that I carved earlier, and stuffing, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes, My first guest arrives and says. this goes in your oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, another comes and says I have my vegetables in bags I just need to platter them, and oh do you have a bowl for my dip and spoon? Another one says I need to put this jello in your fridge it is not quite set. This has to hit home with someone…way to go Marney!

  48. Dave says:

    I can understand Marney’s desire to want to have some control over the dinner details, but to do it in a group letter and to such minute detail is going way beyond “normal” control. SUGGEST that a particular person makes a particular dish, perhaps because that person has made it in the past and it proved to be delicious and well received. DON’T COMMAND it!! If you’re short on serving utensils, ASK that someone brings one…DON’T COMMAND it!! If you ask that someone bring a veggie tray, be willing to accept a ready made one from the supermarket, or don’t ask for one. Remember: the end does not always justify the means!!

  49. Grateful for my Family says:

    Wow. I can certainly understand the need to organize but I would never expect to insult or be insulted to this extent by someone in my own family. If she were so certain Amy wouldn’t read the letter, then why belittle and insult her to the rest of the family. Just because you are capable of being a bitch doesn’t mean you should rise to the occasion. Our family is blessed that we know our strengths and accept our weaknesses. Glad we don’t have any perfect “Marneys” to ruin the harmony.

    • Robin says:

      A-men. No Marneys in my family, and I’m SO thankful. I’d tell her to just cross me off her Thanksgiving list and be done with it.

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