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. Darby says:

    I think that everyone that says she is not a control freak, and that she is just being precise, is probably a control freak themselves.

    And isn’t it tradition that whoever is hosting the thanksgiving dinner make all of the food? At least that way it can be exactly the way you want it, Marney.

    It really isn’t that hard to cook. Just prepare it early and reheat it. Or does that go against your regulation codes? Must everything be made 3 minutes before you eat?

    And while I do see a point in telling people what to bring, does it matter what brand or what they put it in? What if they don’t have a regulation casserole dish?

    Just some food for thought.

  2. Suzanne says:

    My brother sent me this link after seeing the string of Facebook emails back and forth between all of us, which includes my family, my husband’s family, and my brother-in-law’s family (don’t ask).

    Also, my brother suggested Cracker Barrel. I’m beginning to think it might not be a bad idea, actually.

  3. Silva says:

    my God, what an awful woman!! I would do everything just the opposite just to piss her off.

  4. Sheila says:

    This reminds me of my niece, Candy. The day before Thanksgiving we went shopping for ingredients. As we were very busy and had alot to do, she went into power-shopping mode. As we entered Walmart, she grabbed a cart, told me to get one, and said,”Okay, I am going to aisle 8 to get drinks, you go to aisle 5 to get (whatever it was I cant remember) and then meet me on aisle 13 to finish. Off she dashed and left me laughing hysterically at the door. It was a well organized dinner and she pulled it off. Kudos to her.

  5. Anna says:

    why even bother with the turnips?

  6. The Piper says:

    I’d do exactly as she says, and when we show up and she demands to know why my blue Le Creuset casserole dish with tin foil is covered with bacon grease, i’d smile and gently say…”So it will fit up your a** a little more conveniently my dear”…and proceed to place it there forthwith.

  7. Rebecca says:

    This would make me not want to show up.

  8. Mike Byron & Family says:

    Marney, I realize that you are very “particular” about how you want your turnips, green beans, mashed potatoes, and stuffing prepared and served. I know that you want them all “in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon”. You’ve been letting us know how “particular” you are for years! But you know what, Marney? You know what? The wife, kids, and I all agree that you can take your dictatorial attitude and the whole freakin’ Thanksgiving dinner for that matter and stuff it right up your bird!

  9. Dusty says:

    THIS IS ONE Mamma that ain’t going it alone this year! Fantastic!!! Lovin it!

  10. Gas Mileage Sucks When You're Towing says:

    We cannot forget this from the top: ” I truly appreciate your offers to assist with the meal preparation.” People actually requested to help her???

    • butcherbaby says:

      possibly because when/if they don’t, marney plays the martyr and spends the entire evening moaning about how much work she did, nobody appreciates it, bla bla bla. yet i’d bet money that if someone else offered to host it, she’d act like her feelings were deeply hurt, isn’t her meal good enough, bla bla bla.
      i think for this poor family there is no way to win this one, because she’ll complain no matter what.

  11. dsto says:

    Marney Stewart didn’t quiet have the same success as her more congenial sister, Martha…. for obvious reasons.

  12. Sarah says:

    Just have to add my comments here — PJ: so you LOVE Hyancinth Boo-Kay, too…but, as Marney would tell you, it’s Royal Doulton!! Get it right or you can’t come to MY special candlelight supper I’ll be holding!!!

  13. vlatak says:

    I think i was a guest at Marney’s for easter once, it wasn’t pretty.


  14. Happygrrl says:

    I don’t think Marney can be judged outside the context of her specific family. I personally don’t have a problem with Marney’s letter, because I appreciate someone stepping up to the often thankless job of coordinating folk. I appreciate leadership. If this were my cousin Heidi, I’d ignore everything that wasn’t directed specifically to me and if I had issues with anything that was directed at me, I’d take it up with Heidi. I’d take care to do my part and arrive confident of a huge feast decently presented and proportioned. I believe in teamwork and am unimpressed with folk who sit back and criticize, but don’t step up with solutions. If anyone in Marney’s family doesn’t like how Marney manages Thanksgiving, he or she should step up and do it next year!

    • butcherbaby says:

      i don’t think the problem with marney’s letter is the fact she is trying to coordinate things- there’s nothing wrong with that, especially when it’s a big family dinner. it’s the rude and condescending tone of it, as well as the fact that her instructions are so specific about wanting things HER way, even down to the specific type of dishes and utensils. she says “cook it your way” then goes on to say what should or should not be done. she says “pick your flavor of ice cream” but then says what not to buy and what flavor SHE wants to have. seriously, if she wants something done exactly her way, she should do it herself. she even specifies the exact recipe that she wants for the pumpkin pie! really, is it going to ruin the whole dinner if amy misto brings a pie from marie callenders, or even the grocery store?
      i’ve held holiday dinners, and i asked someone to bring pie or a side dish, i wouldn’t quibble about how they made it or whether it was made from scratch or store bought. my husband likes to BBQ, and when we have people over he says ‘this is what food/beverages we are having, and you are more than welcome to bring whatever else you might like to have’. no pressure, no micromanaged lists, just good food and the company of friends- which is really what it should all be about.
      my aunt did thanksgiving and easter dinner, and my grandma christmas, for many years. it was a pleasure for them, not a chore. even though everything was literally made from scratch (nothing came out of a package or can except the cranberry sauce), neither of them would expect or even ALLOW any help in the kitchen other than setting the table, putting the food out, and washing up afterwards. they didn’t freak out if the china didn’t all match, or whether food got served in “regulation” size dishes, or was served with a soup spoon. in fact, the year my aunt forgot to put sugar in the pumpkin pie was laughed at even by her, and lovingly referred to every subsequent year. i have a feeling marney would have gone off the deep end if that happened at her house.
      seriously, this letter transcends “organization” and leaps headfirst into “control freak”. and, how do you know that her family hasn’t tried to come up with alternative plans or solutions? sometimes it’s just not worth the fight and fuss a person like this would most likely react with.

  15. Anne says:

    Is that my sister?
    Why are you calling yourself Marney?
    Why didn’t I get invited????

  16. BSE says:

    And P.S. what is Marney’s FUNERAL going to be like?!?
    “I COULD NOT BE MORE SERIOUS when I say that you will not get your share of your inheritance if my casket is not made from oak, with gold handrails, not silver, and the casket should be placed exactly six feet, three inches into the ground, with two and a half feet between me and the graves on either side. For my memorial luncheon, I’ll expect the Mike Byron family to bring a nice bottle of Chateau Margeaux (1973, of course), and some nice hors d’ouevres, nothing too heavy, we don’t want people passing gas while keeping my memory (you know how you get, Mike). Amy Misto (I don’t even know why I’m writing this, you’ll probably just ignore it anyway), bring that pumpkin pie you forgot that Thanksgiving (the silver palate recipe, of course), no need to bring a knife. Make sure everyone cries between 6 and 10 tears, ladies should cry less because we don’t want their makeup to smear, it looks tacky.”

  17. BSE says:

    I COULD NOT BE MORE SERIOUS when I say I would bring a big ole’ bag of Big Macs to Thanksgiving dinner! Or I’d show up with the half-drunk bottle of wine and a gallon-sized Ziploc bag full of mashed potatoes with the gravy already mixed in and no serving spoon. Or show up with a box of mashed potato flakes and canned green beans (sans EVOO, panchetta, and crushed almonds of course) and say, “Oh, I hope the kitchen is available…I didn’t have time to whip these up before I got here!”

  18. festus says:

    Yep, crazy! But… hmm… maybe Marney is more clever than we give her credit for. If she’s always *stuck* hosting and fixing the big Thanksgiving meal because her thankless family uses her like a doormat that way, maybe she did this on purpose just make a point. Kinda like screwing up the laundry so you don’t have to do it again. Piss enough of the family off that they avoid counting on you to do everything for Thanksgiving ever again. She might just have been at her boiling point!

  19. April says:

    thanks for the reminder… I am staying home this thanksgiving!!!

  20. Eryn says:

    And this is why I don’t give out my email address to family, especially extended family. If the forwards about cancer-ridden children and poems about angels aren’t bad enough…

    On Thanksgiving, Marney’s family members will be saying thanks for caller ID and etoh.

  21. phonebone says:

    I’ll bet she is so busy barking orders to everyone that she forgets to turn the turkey oven on.

  22. Emon says:

    my family actually did this one year- but in a much nicer way- we typically have 30-50 people come for Thanksgiving so the hosting house asked that everyone bring a specific dish/or have a specific chore ie washing dishes but it was much friendlier and i think we actually picked out of a hat, i got stuck with dishes but then the following year i got mashed potatoes etc.

    • Mary says:

      That sounds very civilized. and should work beautifully provided finances and distances to drive aren’t issues.
      Kudos for posting something positive.

  23. Elaine says:

    I would do one of three things here:

    1.) “Forget” to show up or

    2.)Bring what I felt like bringing instead or

    3.) Totally mess up what I was supposed to bring on purpose and laugh in this lady’s face when she got ticked about it.

    That’s just me…

  24. This guy says:

    What exactly is a “regulation size casserole dish”? Is there an international comittee on proper dish sizes?

  25. linda says:

    It seems to me that if you, dear, DEAR Marney, have SUCH a problem with how everyone else does things, then maybe you could spend the day at church with the only OTHER perfect person that ever existed. You could also just skip it. You could also LIGHTEN UP!!! These are YOUR ONLY THREE options!!!

  26. Pete says:

    ARE YOU FU$#ING KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. ThatCreepyZenman says:

    Clearly Marney has suffered through many awful Thanksgiving dinners, and many of the responders have not. Marney’s level of insanity is reached only by attending these family disasters, where there are five different types of stuffing and three of turnips. In addition, three of the Uncles get drunk early on and have a farting contest in the parlor. Grandma’s hearing aid has fallen in the dish of turnips (the one with the soupy sauce) and no one will risk a bite of it.

    This letter would likely result in a lowered level of attendance at this dinner, leaving much more turkey for Marney to use for sandwiches – for the next three months, along with casseroles, soups and hot dishes for church suppers.

  28. Why assign a turnip dish if no one likes them? Come on, Marney! That doesn’t make sense!

  29. LisaB says:

    I love that she tells the Bob Byron Family, “It is up to you how you wish to prepare them” ….. BUT “no soupy sauces, no cheese (you know how Mike is), a light sprinkling of toasted nuts, or pancetta, or some EVOO would be a nice way to jazz them up.” But of course, “it’s up to you how you wish to prepare them”!!! LOL

    • ShanaM says:

      My thoughts exactly :p And watch her go nuts when they don’t prepare it with “a light sprinkling of toasted nuts, or pancetta, or some EVOO.” LM*O

    • WI_DJ says:

      When I saw the “EVOO” it all makes sense now. Marny is a Rachel Ray addict and thinks that home dining perfection MUST be accomplished at her house, just like on TV.

      If I got this letter, not only would I not show up, I wouldn’t tell her I wasn’t coming either. Biartch.

  30. Danness says:

    Now, I’m anal, but this could be borderline OCD+. I say ‘could be’ because the woman may have to give precise instructions to her family. If they act like they’re ‘special ed’, they may be confused about what to bring or how to prepare it. OR… maybe they have stuck this duty on her, and she’s just letting them know how much she dislikes the task. You would have to hear her side 1st. I heard that she does have parking, seating, and clean-up duty arrangements already figured out! LOL

  31. Michael says:

    I would bring tequila instead of wine, and keep it for myself. What a crazy!

  32. wastingtime says:

    Wat to go Amy Misto! Don’t give into The MAN!

  33. Misty says:

    I am no expert, but it would appear to me that this woman is a big steaming kettle of crazy.

  34. Shelley says:

    Seems like a good idea to just show up drunk and laugh at Marney. WHAT A FREAK!

  35. Jayne says:

    My MIL could have written this, but would it probably have additional instructions on where to park, when to arrive, where to hang your coat, and when we’re expected to leave.

    • Emi says:

      I am so sorry! “I expect you to leave by 9pm exactly, unless you have children. If you have children, I expect you to pack your car by 8:30 to be gone by 8:45.” That’s the worst. Our family parties hardy and late, that would SUCK!

      You posting your letters if you receive any?

  36. suebee says:

    i would give anything to be with them on thanksgiving……surely worthy of a movie of the week bid…..hilarious…….that is the funniest thing i have ever read!!! i agree with the earlier poster….i cant wait to see the 2009 letter….or better yet, PLEASE post her christmas letters!!!!

  37. Donna says:


    Please, please, please, please submit the Thanksgiving letter for this year (2009). I just need to know how Marnie is going to follow up to this one.

  38. Michele says:

    Wow! I thought I was bad micro-managing every detail. This woman has it down to a science!! I would love to be a fly on the wall if someone didn’t follow her instructions!!!

  39. Jessica says:

    This is helarious!! The comments are even more funny than the post!!

  40. Sherry says:

    I would be SO tempted to bring bean dip with tortilla chips and a desert that no one likes and tell her that I thought she was joking.

    • Obama's teleprompter says:

      LOL, yeah, bring pizza and chips and make some marguaritas! Feed the kids Oreos before dinner.

      And fart at the table, must fart at the table.

    • Emi says:

      And THAT is the passive-aggressive manner my mom taught me and my brother to react. Make the best out of a bad situation. Of course, Marny would be all “How are we going to eat without the turnips!”

  41. Shannon says:

    Bahahahaha! The part we don’t know is that no one showed up because they all made reservations at a restaurant to avoid it.

  42. Angi says:

    This was posted on July first?! Crazy much?!

  43. Barbara says:

    Hurray… someone finally did want I wish I had the nerve to do…..
    I just stay quiet and do it all myself. This year I am going to try a friendly
    note like this….I’ll let you know how it goes…lol… anyone have any good leftover turkey recipes.. I think I’ll have alot.

  44. GP says:

    What’s even more amusing than Marney’s instructions is the feral response evoked in some readers who are clearly quite attached to how people SHOULD behave and have decided that, in their not-so-humble opinion, this person DOES NOT FIT their expectations of acceptable behavior.

    Is it a bit much? Sure. Is it precise? Absolutely. Marney is a great organizer and hostess and is trying to make sure the evening turns out great for everyone. No doubt her family knows her and is happy that a) she is hosting b) she is accepting help and c) she is providing direction rather than letting everyone bring a pot of mashed potatoes.

    Marney has the right to act any way she wants. Her family has the right to excuse themselves from attending, attend and not following instructions in order to instigate, or follow the not-unreasonable instructions provided and have a happy freaking Thanksgiving.

    If most of the readers’ comments are any indication, their families are likely feudalistic control struggles over how-dare-she and this is how he/she OUGHT to behave. They prove to be more entertaining than the much-maligned Marney!

    • mary says:

      Marney is this you????

    • anonymiss says:

      ‘Cause it actually matters EXACTLY what food you have, instead of what thanksgiving is meant to be about…

      Or spending time with family and just enjoying the day…

      • duckyzgal731 says:

        anonymiss is soooooooo right? What are we all thinking? That Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what we have or the people we love? Or that it’s about spending a well earned day of time with family and friends? Huh?! g1 anonymiss! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Tallulah says:

      I know what you mean, but it’s more the fact that it’s really condescending. It’s not like, hey, can you bring beans? I think about 4kg is enough. It’s like DO this and use MY recipe.
      And I don’t understand how anyone can have a happy Thanksgiving like this, it will all be so uptight and stressful! And the other person’s right, completely missing the point of the holiday…

      • Bluucandi says:

        I agree, she might be “organized” but her tone is insulting. She’s not only anal about how the food is prepared or what is prepared, she wants it served with her specified containers and utensils.

        That a bit about the one gal being married now and therefore, she’s expected to contribute “on an adult level” proves the point again.

        I recommend you bring 10lbs of mashed turnips in a soup pot covered with ten foil. Don’t bring anything to serve it with because obviously, she would have the right utensil. ๐Ÿ˜›

    • PJ says:

      Yes but it smacks too much of “Keeping Up Appearances” the British comedy.
      Except the Royal Dalton double-glazed with hand painted periwinkles is missing…

    • Kris says:

      btw Marney, the job of a host/hostess is to ensure everyone feels welcome in your home, not to be a dictator. I’d follow Amy’s lead and bring whatever the hell I wanted or could afford.

    • b says:

      Marney has the right to act how she wants…. And everyone else has the right to laugh at her when the way she acts is completely inappropriate. And I’m sure there’s some culture out there in which it is appropriate to dictate the terms of a family holiday in such condescending exactness, but I doubt it’s Marney’s. I think in this culture that is known as “being a control freak” and is generally frowned upon.

    • goblue says:

      I’m with you, GP. This is a lot of company to have in your home for an elaborate meal. It’s a little bit hard-a**, but if everyone does what he or she is told, they will all have a good meal and a smooth event. I know, nobody likes to be told what to do. But you all allow yourself to be told what to do at work, don’t you? When you’re working on a project?

      If you don’t like the program, politely call and excuse yourself from attending.

      They probably have turnips because ONE person likes them and it’s some kind of family tradition people don’t want to give up.

      • Carrie says:

        Thanksgiving should NOT be analogous with work.

      • dawn says:

        So, it’s either miss out on a family function where 99.9% of the family are great to be around and excuse yourself or go the party and watch the 99.9 be miserable because of a control freak…. yeah… i’m thinking the agree with Marnie and then do whatever the hell you want approach would work on this one. Thats how i get thru family functions at “Aunt Joanne’s”.

    • Jennifer says:

      Well, it’s o.k. to tell people what to bring so you don’t get a pie from everyone, however, people should be able to bring their dish the way they want. Maybe Marney shouldn’t be hostess. She “kinda” reminds me of my sister, whom I tend to ignore on a regular basis. She still invites me back!

    • Phangirl of the Opera says:

      Hiya, Marney! Or my grandma H…. you really act like my grandma haha.

    • Chrissy says:

      Ok, either you’re Marney or a control freak just like her. Any hostess would be or should be happy about family gathering at such a special time of the year regardless of what food or utensils are being brought. Yes, I believe that there should be a variety of food, but I’m sure they can work it out without such anal letters being sent out. Here’s an idea….how about a sign up list! Regardless, it shouldn’t be about the food (although enjoyable), it should be about family and being together. Period. What awful memories being left behind. Talk about a legacy to be left…”To heck what you all can bring to this special time, I want it exactly like this…” Maybe they should have their own gathering without her, or either make her bring all that food to her own specifications. If she wants everyone to eat that way, then by golly she can fix it. Maybe the family doesn’t like those foods. I’m sure they can handle putting a feast together without such overbearing rules. How can they enjoy being together with this woman towering over them? “What if I didn’t fix this right?” or…”I hope that this is what she wanted, what if she didn’t like it. Did I make her happy?” That’s not how family should feel! What is she like the rest of the year?

    • Eva says:

      Can someone say aspergers?

    • Shellie says:

      I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve hosted Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, I’ve done all of the preparation and cooking on my own. It’s not that hard…just prep everything you can ahead of time and organize the timing of everything going into the oven so that it’s can all come out around the same time. I use the recipes that I want to use and try to make something for everyone.
      I sure as he*l have never sent out such a demanding and condescending letter to my family.
      When asked if anyone should bring anything, I just list what I’ll be preparing and let them know that they are welcome to bring anything that they would like in addition to what I’m preparing, and any alcohol that they would like, as I will only provide tea, water, milk and juice.

      • Emi says:

        Same with my family. Mom does her prep work that whole week, I come early to throw things in the oven, toss things, set the buffet table, etc. If we are encouraged to bring something for the 4-family get together it’s a friendly e-mail of “Dawn is bringing one veggie dish and apple pie, Dean is bringing stuffing and tatertot hotdish.”

        But seriously? How anal do you have to be to tell everyone to do everything your way before talking about it with the others? I would bring nothing but a few bottles of bourbon and canned cranberry jelly with a plastic plate to set it on. Screw that noise!

    • Wow says:

      Marney is far from “precise”. Should we bring the turnips in a casserole or in a casserole dish? If the June Davis family brings the 15 lbs of mashed potatos the Furer requires in one container, should said potatoes be in a casserole (presumably casserole dish) without a lid? Where can I get a copy of the casserole dish regulations?!! Apparently no lid is required for the stuffing either. Since the Amy Misto Family has been ordered to bring the pies, why should the Michelle Bobble Family bring the pie knife? COME ON MARNEY, YOU’RE BETTER THAN THAT!!

      • Mary says:

        Um, clearly the blue dish was way too big. It didn’t fit on the table, and left no room for the radishes that everyone hates.

  45. Marva says:

    I would RSVP and say “Shove it all up your a*********************.”

  46. Katy says:

    I would just not bother going. No One tells me what to cook, and gets it done. I would just bring a can of cranberry sauce, the jellied kind that comes out shaped like a can, and let her be mad. I would also bring my 11 children, plus spouses, girlfriends, best friends, etc. and let them whine about how hungry they are. Anythinhg to avoid getting a letter like that again!

    • Christine says:

      Katy, you are soooo invited to my next feast! Or, let’s see if we can both get invited to Thanksgiving at “Marny’s” house this year….

  47. Brenna says:

    I love the crack about “you know how Mike is.” Lactose-intolerant? Dairyphobic?

    Poor Laura, having to contribute “on the adult level” now that she’s married. I think she should follow Amy Misto’s lead and ignore everything.

  48. Morgan says:

    Wow, at first I was thinking “OK, this isn’t so bad. Deciding who brings what ahead of time makes things much easier for everyone.” Then I’m like, “Wow, she wasn’t kidding when she said she was picky.” Finally, “WT* is wrong with you woman!?!” I think there’s a mental condition for things like this… I hope she’s not normal anyway…

    • Alisha says:

      I think she and my sister are one in the same!!!! Seriously, I am related to people this anal!!!! I would bring sporks just to watch that vien in the middle of her forehead pop!

  49. Amy_support group says:

    I am musing about the kind of surprise I would bring: a perfectly regulation size casserole with a lid, even a silver serving spoon to make it better and … a good ol’ stinkin’ swollen road kill!!!

  50. Krista Wyatt says:

    LOL! It’s the Thanksgiving Day Nazi! Oh and who would’nt be looking forward to the 28th after readingthis cheerful, holiday letter! Hilarious!

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