The Thanksgiving Letter

November 26th, 2009

The Thanksgiving Letter - Thanksgiving

ย submitted by Kara at

Listen to a dramatic reading of Marney’s famous letter.

After years of trying, Marney agreed to sit down with AFP and discuss her famous letter.

And now, you can get the official Marney Shirt! Image of regulation-size casserole dish included.


3,042 Responses to “The Thanksgiving Letter”

  1. Puckfreak says:

    No thank you. I will go somewhere else for dinner.

  2. willow says:

    That interview…so awkward…

    • dana says:

      It reminds me of 20/20 interviewing a sociopath. The eyes are just super intense, and you can tell she has no idea what is so odd or awkward about her letter. I’m so grateful my Mom isn’t like this.

      I wonder if she ever lightened up on her expectations for Thanksgiving guests. The letter is 7 years old now.

  3. Debora says:

    I’d be tempted to call 15 minutes before show time and tell her that I accidentally melted the lid to the casserole dish, and and the serving spoon got left at the pot luck at work last Tuesday. Since we can’t follow her instructions “exactly” we will not be attending…. Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. j.h. Pattee says:

    They should have thanksgiving someplace else – without telling her – then they will have something to be truly thankful for! Her poor husband and kids!

  5. Loretta says:

    I’m single, does this mean, in Marney’s eyes, I’m not an “adult”? Only when a woman is married is she considered to be on an “adult level”?

  6. furpurr says:

    After having read the letter a few times, & the varied comments, my view has changed quite a lot.
    At first reading, I was one of the “I do not think so!” people. HOWEVER: The family member who turned in Marney’s letter is, no doubt, the worst of the ‘offenders’…& to have openly tried to shame your relative is horrid.
    Perhaps those offering words of support are CORRECT: Quite apparently Marney is the hostess every year, & is providing the main dish at the least…or main DISHES, since one turkey would not feed this crowd! That is a great deal of expense. Plus the house cleaning, dishes & silverware to provide for use, the final clean-up after the meal…
    A married adult should not need to be told to pitch in! This one did; at least she was given an option of something less expensive. The turnip section I quite understand as well.
    Perhaps all of us should look at this as if we are the host…& it is OUR family coming… How cooperative would they be, & what sort of mess would there be with a lack of direction?

    • Mike says:

      Suggest you reread the letter again. Respect is a two-way street and Marney doesn’t show any to the recipients.

      I’d plan my own dinner and invite the others. I suspect Marney would try to take over and not be invited the following year. People offering words of support have never dealt with a toxic controlling relative.

  7. Babs says:

    I’d leave a shoe box full of crap on her doorstep, and go out for Chinese.

  8. Patricia says:

    I would have just gone to a great Chinese establishment and had Thanksgiving dinner—being Thankful I didn’t have to go to Marneys (send her your condolences and some flowers) the day before and then don’t answer the phone ๐Ÿ˜€ Have a Happy Thanksgiving day and be thankful for all you have and– do not have ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Melissa says:

    OH MY GOSH!!

    The interview with Marney gave me the heebie geebies! That woman is insane! If that was just an actor they were supremely talented. If I were going to attend her Thanksgiving I think I would comply to her every wish while at the same time wishing I had the balls to do things throughout the day to drive her crazy(er). The look in her eyes as she’s trying to understand what in the world everyone found awkward was just spooky.

  10. Rachel says:

    I’m so glad my mother-in-law loves my cooking and would never make or include me in a list like this. SMH

  11. diane says:

    As my Pastor says, “Let dem be who dey is.” Give her a break – this is who she is. Let it go. Just do what is required of you and let it be. People would complain if there were no mashed potatoes at the dinner. She is making sure all bases are covered. Get over it, people. Be happy she hosted the dinner so you didn’t have to do it. Marnie, I’ll come next year and I’ll make exactly what you want me to.

    • Sheila Kilpatrick says:

      A real good way to avoid being “demanding” and “impolite” is to have a sign-up sheet created and have each item listed and how much to bring. Office get-together’s / potlucks do well with this method.

  12. Dianne says:

    Maybe I’m crazy but there is a better way! I host family parties all the time. I even provide meals for the teachers at the school. So simple – to organize. There are so many ways to do this without ticking someone off and coming across as a control freak.
    It isn’t just the HOSTS dinner – it is everyone’s dinner. With that in mind..prior to the event – send a sign up around:
    Potluck –
    15# mashed potatoes with serving spoon and serving dishes
    2 pumpkin pies with vanilla ice cream and serving utensils
    use your own recipes this is your dinner too!
    Your assignment is (and provide serving platter/bowls & utensils if applicable):
    Marnie family – turkey
    Byron – pies
    Amy – relish dish
    Vic – vegetables
    George – rolls
    Henry – cranberry sauce
    It’s everyone’s dinner! Don’t be specific – It isn’t the food that should matter but the time spent as family!

  13. BytchEPoo says:

    OMG – Michele Bachmann!!! That.was.AWESOME! “My husband isn’t gay!”

    And regarding the two pies: Don’t forget BossyPants strongly suggested peppermint bark ice cream. What – you don’t think that sounds GREAT with apple or pumpkin pie?!?! Way to think ahead there, MAR-NEYYYYYY.

    I wonder if they had a super uptight version of charades after dinner? Ugh

  14. Holly says:

    You have an ad for a t-shirt under “Marney’s” video with a casserole dish and it says Marney approved or whatever. I’m pretty sure that’s not a 12″ dish and in any case, that type of dish/lid combo is not stackable, so it is NOT Marney approved.

    • Karen says:

      Exactly!!! I was just scrolling down so that I could leave this exact same comment. Otherwise, I would love to get this t-shirt!!

  15. James says:

    WOW, looks and reminds me exactly of my EX-wife…

  16. Mel. says:

    I don’t know if other people are like this, but when anyone in my family is hosting, they do it because they are willing to prepare everything. That doesn’t mean everyone just freeloads because people will offer to help by bringing extra stuff, helping in the kitchen, or some other way. I think that if you are going to host, you should actually host and not micromanage all your guests who will be doing all the work anyway while you sit back and bask in all the glory of hosting “your” Thanksgiving. What a way to make people feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. I would wear something obnoxious or bring a foil-covered, plastic Sponge Bob dish just to piss her off. That or I’d secretly oversalt anything she made.

    This kind of reminds me of some cousins of mine. Whenever they hosted anything (even the most casual dinner for less than 10 people), they became borderline-aggressive and never let anyone have more than one serving of whatever they had. BUT if you ate, you HAD to have some of everything else even if you didn’t like or want it. I always hated that and just sat there thinking like “yeah, don’t let me eat anything of my choosing but please come to my house and make a beeline straight for the fridge so you can eat everything like you always do.” >:|

  17. Lily says:

    She’s taking the piss. There is no way this is real.

  18. Ditto says:

    Why does she even bother to host?

    I do understand some of where she’s coming from. But really though why bother if you’re that demanding and feel your family is that incompetent?

  19. Edward says:

    Control freak!

  20. Sondra says:

    Marney letter

    Another Thanksgiving, another reading of the Marney letter, lol!
    Each year I think I understand Marney more and more. In fact, like a divining medium, I can pretty accurately tell you what has transpired in the past to motivate Marney to go so far as to write this very pointed letter that comes off “rude as hell”, but is clearly a cry to her “rude as hell” guests to please have situational awareness and be considerate in their ‘guesting’ and participation in what Marney HOPES finally to be a wonderful day.

    Here’s the run down of the years past, that caused Marney to put paper to pen:

    The Mike Byron family – Mrs Mike Byron LOVES Turnips! And so therefore everyone else must too. Despite the fact that two thirds of the dish remains uneaten every year, Mrs Mike Byron will remain unfettered- people WILL eat turnips and she will provide enough for the masses. Of course, when the few brave souls who do desire some turnipy mushiness dig into the laden casserole dish, turnips drop to the table and the rug, being expertly ground into the Berber carpet by busy feet, to which Marney must then liberally apply elbow grease for days to remove, or hire a cleaning company at the cost of $299 per room. All because the Mike Byron family refuses to see the truth. Turnips are not necessarily beautiful.
    And, despite their turnip generosity, the Byron family is cheap and for the last two years has generously bestowed the guests with a very low end brand of ice cream, clearly in exotic flavors, to which guests have moaned and complained. Anti up and buy he Hagen Daz. Think about he desserts (to whichAmy will comply, but I’m getting ahead of myself). No one enjoys pumpkin pie with mint chocolate chip. Think about it Byron’s!

    The Byron’s stinginess must be hereditary. Mikes brother Bob invariably brings a minimal amount of a weird assortment of veggies, most likely dug from the recesses of the crisper bin in his fridge, all in direct conflict with what they said they would bring and everyone had prepared for, and each year conveniently forgets his brother Mike HATES cheese. Marney is doing her darnedest to keep sibling rivalry at bay during the Thanksgiving dinner by telling one brother to think about he other. Said situation, but having these brothers snapping at each other during the meal is getting old.

    Being the adult child (I can tell you she’s over 30) of one of the said Byron brothers above, Lisa has been breezing in just as the family sits for dinner for years. She is bright bubbly, and oh so irresponsible. She keeps talking at the table unaware of others wanting to converse. She needs some structure for the good of the dinner and the family, and clearly her family has never provided it. The Byron’s remain situationally unaware and so does she…The fact that Marney even has to TELL her it’s time to offer to bring something speaks volumes. I can tell you last year, Lisa made snide comments about getting away with not having to contribute. And I’m sure her wedding this past year made Bridezilla look tame. And since Marney knows she’s a Byron, she heads her off at the pass- no prepackaged stale veggie plastic tray from Costco missy. And think about my rugs, I’m already scrubbing your mothers turnips out of it, no cocktail sauce, you know how these people eat!!

    Every year, Marney is left to scrounge the remnants of her utensil drawer to find something that can work as a serving spoon, because of course when you bring a dish, your job is done. No need to be certain it’s edible, ready to serve or equipped with serving tools. ‘Make casserole’ – done. Last year, people hooted and hollered with laughter over Marneys tiki tongs for the stuffing, and then complained about being short two spoons. Mike Byron whined about the cranberry touching the turnips, having to use the same spoon. He licked it to remove the offending berry before flinging turnips deep into the Berber. In addition, Michelle Bobble brought prosciutto pinwheel last year, but thought she’d get creative and slathered it with a dried fruit compote, because Martha Stewart. It was virtually in edible. Thus the reminder, keep it simple. You know Mike.

    June Davis, bless her heart. Each year people rave of her potatoes and rightly so – so yummy! But gracious, could she not see that if the casserole dish took both her grown sons and a refrigerator dolly to load into the back of the GMC, then it most likely would not be easily passed around the table? How the heck does one serve 15lbs of mashed potatoes in one dish. Again this family lacks even the slightest vein of situational awareness, leaving Marney to point out even the obvious for the good of the party.

    Amy, being Lisa’s sister, has simply checked out. Every year she arrives whenever, speaks little and leaves before anyone has noticed. Like her sister, Amy, who is now married, has never thought that participating is her obligation. I give Marney credit for even trying. I’d make the pies myself. Last year, dessert was the mint chocolate chip ice cream and some left over fruit compote from the inedible prosciutto pinwheel, because Amy checked out.

    Every year, with people griping and grousing over these very things (and I dare say probably a few more ) Marney makes mental notes has to what to do to make everyone more comfortable or at least get them to stop complaining. Because one thing I also know is NO one else is willing to step up to host Thanksgiving. And since Marney wants a family dinner, this is her way of getting one.

    Good god, this could be written about my family!

    • Elena says:

      Awesome!!!! Made me laugh as much as the original!

    • Mutha says:

      I love this reply. I wish I could have proofed it first, but still, I love it. I am the one to do the whole dinner and no one brings anything. Yet they feel they can kvetch about the food. Darned dry turkey. Didn’t Aunt Eva make one even drier, once?

      Aunt Eva doesn’t cook, so that’s an insult, not a compliment. And does ANYONE clean up after the mean, or, God forbid, during the cooking? No.

      How about the fact that mom is on a diet and cooking all of this crap when all she really wants for Thanksgiving is a spa day and for her six children and husband to find their own food. Likely none of them will starve…if you know what I mean.

    • kim says:

      you are a genius. this was exactly what I was thinking- poor Marney, who drove her to this madness?!

    • LisaGinNZ says:

      LOL – your reply is EPIC and spot on. I see the humor in Marney’s letter – but I completely understand her writing it.

      My mother was very specific when I helped her in the kitchen – she taught me well.

      I have a soft spot in my heart for Marney! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • M.F. says:

      Brilliant! Marney has been made human.

    • Lolly says:

      Sondra, you are a joy! Great insight, humor and obvious real life experience! Thanks for the additional fun on this one and HANG IN THERE, Marney!!! We’re with ya, Sister!!!!

    • Tam says:

      Suddenly this woman doesn’t seem mental… You’ve humanised her! Lol poor Marney, I now get it

  21. Laurie says:

    I’m sure someone has said this: That is a not a stackable casserole dish on the T-shirt. Marney would not approve. “Lids. Stackable. Lids. Stackable.”

    • col says:

      In the original letter Marney neglected to stipulate that a regulation casserole must be stackable. Had she clarified, much anguish could have been avoided. But so would have our fun.

  22. Vermin8 says:

    My question was never addressed in the video – why in the %@#$ would you assign someone to bring turnips if everyone hates turnips?

    • Beth says:

      It’s not that she WANTS the Mike Byron family to bring turnips, it’s that she knows they will no matter what – so for God’s sake bring them in a dish with a lid and don’t fill it up all the way since we are only each taking a spoonful out of politeness and pity.

  23. Morri says:

    Hahah this poor woman. I get where she’s coming from but if I received a letter like that from a family member regarding Thanksgiving, I’d send a gift basket and stay home. As someone else said, there is a HUGE difference between delegation and micromanaging via condescending directions.

    Who knows, maybe Marney’s family is really inconsiderate? It makes me feel blessed that my family can get together and do Holidays without this crazy drama.

  24. Caitlin Burrows says:

    I get that someone hosting such a big dinner would need help with preparation, but there is a big difference between having a family free-for-all and having a dinner so micromanaged. They could do a family sign-up sheet. Not with specific dishes, but with categories: hors d’oeuvres, salads, sides and desserts.

    The only guidelines are: remember food allergies and bring enough for everyone.

  25. Linda says:

    Just watched the interview with Marney. That in itself should qualify for an Awkward moment. The woman doesn’t appear to have a sense of humour

    • Daniel says:

      I love at the end she says “I’m confused”…so are we Marney, so are we.

    • Laveta says:

      Agreed. I’m not surprised at all that the younger generation of this family has checked out. They probably dread that time of the year. She is extremely neurotic and she would be better off just making everything herself.

    • Lou says:

      Marney got a lot of ppl poking fun and insulting her. Lots of haters (sadly) I think it’s brave of her to do the interview.

  26. Veronica says:

    There is no way I would ever do this to my family, nor would I allow a family member to treat other family this way. This is NOT what the holidays are about. Thank goodness this woman is not my family, I would have to put her in her place. Who does she think she is?

  27. Tasha says:

    Yeah I’m thinking spending Thanksgiving under a bridge would be better than dealing with her…

  28. Michelle says:

    While I am a bit skeptical of the first sentence of her second paragraph, I can kind of see how this type of thing occurs.

    I’ll be honest, I have a bit of Marney in me myself. My family is pretty good about cooking, and most are decent cooks, so I’m lucky there. But for average folk, pot lucks require choreography, and no one ever wants to take the helm except for us serving spoon-squeezing control freaks. Hence, the Marneys of the world.

    Listen, I’ve been to enough of those “laid-back” holiday dinners where 4 out of 5 attendees think it’s some kind of backyard bbq so they stop and grab lame junk from the supermarket on the way over. I guess they figure everyone else will be doing the home-cooking. So what ends up being served? A beautifully roasted turkey with a mind-blowing variety of dorito flavors (bonus! with a can or tub of dip!), a bag of raw apples past their prime, some stale white cheddar popcorn, a few cans of Monster soda or warm beer, pickles, brownies in a box or a can of veggies you expect the hostess to prepare for you, and if we’re lucky some exotic and spicy ethnic meat dish that doesn’t exactly go with turkey. Deny it all you want, but I know you’ve done this $#!&! Amirite?

    • Kelly says:

      Ugh, so true – every time I have to organize a get-together where other people are responsible for bringing part of the food, I think of Marney… I only had to pull together two families for Thanksgiving last year (my first time hosting) and I solved the problem by doing most of the important stuff myself (this would NOT have been an option if we’d been feeding more people!), because I just KNEW no matter what I asked, people would do their own thing. Even with asking for a specific thing (I asked someone to bring a double-layer mousse pumpkin pie, this person’s special recipe and one that my husband loves), I didn’t get it – she brought a regular pumpkin pie, which we already had three of. *sigh* If I had to orchestrate family get-togethers more often, I would definitely end up pulling a Marney!

      People who’ve never tried to pull something like this together often have the attitude, “You should be grateful for whatever I bring!” While I understand that, I also know that those people very rarely realize that hours and weeks of planning and time and money have been invested by the host or hostess, so honestly the guests should be grateful THEY didn’t have to do all that and should be happy all they have to do is bring a d*mn dish!

    • CLB says:

      “A beautifully roasted turkey with a mind-blowing variety of Dorito flavors”
      Bwahahahaha. Yes. That.

  29. Jen says:

    I’m still waiting for Marney to answer whether or not those pies actually showed up for Thanksgiving. The look of internal conflict on her face was freakin’ perfect! hahah ..then it just cuts. HA

  30. Wayne says:

    ROTFL. What is a, “regulation size” casserole dish? Is there a separate book of Federal Thanksgiving Dinner Regulations (FTDR)? Is it available on-line? Does she want Imperial or Metric size? This would be funny . . . once. After that, “I’m busy this year.”

    • Ann says:

      Answer: a “regulation size” casserole dish is one that actually fits in an oven, and does not require a crane to maneuver onto its own separate table, unlike the blue whale of a serving dish they dumped on Marney last year.

    • AR says:

      13″x9″x2″ is a regulation size casserole dish.

  31. Ali says:

    Marney sounds a lot like my sister-in-law, Mary, whose sphincter squeezes faster and faster the closer we get to Thanksgiving Day every year. Even if she’s not in charge (she never is) and even if we never ask for her input (we never do), Mary has a Home EC degree (yep) and tells us we peel potatoes wrong every year. Really? I’m wearing cut off overalls and dirty sneaks this year just to piss her off. I’ll upload a pic.

  32. Ali says:

    “Marney” is Mary, my sister-in-law. who took a degree in Home Economics (who does that?!) Only a few universities in the NATION even offer Consumer Arts anymore. Geez! You can hear her sphincter squeeze as Thanksgiving approaches. I’m 54 years old and even I get panic attacks when she hits the front door of my mother’s house!

  33. JKatniss says:

    I love this letter! Hats off to Marney for creating it! My mom used to make letters JUST like this when I was a kid, until my Aunt got tired of bringing the same thing every year and boycotted Thanksgiving until my mom stopped sending them.

  34. Beverly says:

    I think Marny may be in the catering business, or perhaps is a wedding/event planner. This eye for detail would mean she would be sought-after in these fields. Sometimes it’s hard not to take work home with you, though.

  35. mike says:

    Marney is Michele Bachman. Same look, same craziness.

    There are so many things wrong with this I don’t know where to begin.

    Why is the person bringing the pies not the same person bring the pie knife (whatever that is)? Does she not own any knives? You don’t even need a knife, just use the edge of the spatula, works just as fine.

    Apple pie is sort of an odd choice for the second pie. Pecan is a more traditional second offering for pie. Apple might go better with the ice cream, but what if somebody brings an odd-ball flavor of ice cream? Or Ben and Jerry’s?

    Why wouldn’t the choice of green beans or asparagus be the same pounds? Why 4 of one or 5 of another?

    I love how she says things must be served hot, warm or at room temp, these are your ONLY THREE OPTIONS, then in the next sentence, says “anything meant to be served cold should, of course, be served cold.” Of course! You literally just got done saying not to deviate from these three options, then say it’s ok if it’s meant to be that way and suggesting your family are idiots for not realizing that.

    I’m betting that get-togther was a blast. I would have brought a can of Spam and a PECAN pie (store bought AND store brand) and demanded a huge thank you!

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