The Thanksgiving Letter

November 26th, 2009

The Thanksgiving Letter - Thanksgiving

 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.


3,035 Responses to “The Thanksgiving Letter”

  1. Amy K says:

    Still my favorite thing on AFP! In the spirit of the upcoming holday, I had to read it again…
    Go bless Marney. Some one out there is Thankful for you!

  2. esti says:

    wow i really cannot read this at work bec it never fails to make me laugh so hard i cry :)
    happy thanksgiving all!

  3. Mikel says:

    Dear Marney,

    Thank you for th invitation to Thanksgiving. Five years ago we had a great time at your Thanksgiving dinner. the last four years, you have gotten increasingly picky and demanding in your invitations. This one is just too much. You have finally outdone yourself with your manipulative hyper micro-managing every aspect of and event that should be relaxed and enjoyable. I pity your husband. We have decided to NOT attend your dinner this year or ever again unless you do the following: Send us a written apology for this absurd invitation, and have your husband initial it so he knows you did write it. it must be 500 words in length or more. Also your must supply a letter from a certified therapist saying that you have had at least 50 hous of therapy and shown significant progress towards relaxing that super-tight ass of yours, at least to the point where you can take the stick out of it. Finally send me the hone numbers of all the other guests you invite so I can confirm they got the letter of apology too and assess them to ensure they are not the prig that you so much are. By the way, I am bringing Pilsbury Crescent rolls, a can of Ocean Spray Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce as is, and two cans of black olives. The turkey better be juicy, and save a whole pumpkin pie just for me, as what portion of it I can’t eat there I’ll take home. Hope to see you soon.

  4. Holly says:

    I would love to know if there was a 2009 letter!

  5. David says:

    If this letter is real, I can’t imagine why anyone shows up. Sure, it’s funny to think about using foil on plastic containers, the wrong recipes, soup spoons, etc., but in real life if I got a letter like that, I’d just reply that I had other plans and wouldn’t be there. I’d rather spend the day alone with a book than go to tis woman’s house for any reason.

  6. Lindsey says:

    dude, this is freaking lulzy as hell!
    no joke about it!
    i almost died laughing!

  7. Sue says:

    I’ve got so many food allergies and sensitivities, I can rarely eat things that other people make so I always volunteer to do all the cooking for holiday meals. This is a major chore, but
    1. I love my own cooking ;-)
    2. Everyone else loves my cooking and raves for days :-D
    3. I really like leftovers so I always make gargantuan amounts so there’s more than enough to make me happy for about a week following the big event :-9
    4. The family members with money always reimburse me for the groceries :-)
    5. I don’t ever deliberately make a giant mess in the kitchen, but the general rule is that you either do food prep or you clean up afterwards (I hate doing dishes!) so I get to totally relax and drink in the praise while others do the post glutfest cleanup :-)
    Everybody wins! :-D

  8. CC says:

    Once again a excerpt from my mother in law’s life. I tell ya, I’d call her up and tell her I’m not coming and hate her and every person who actually came to the stupid party

  9. Mary says:

    So funny. Makes me think how blessed I am to have 5 sister-in-laws who are happy and generous hosts making everyone feel warm and welcome (we live too far away to host a family gathering).

  10. Rebe says:

    This IS caaaaaaaaraaazzy!! Although I think many of these things about my in-laws…I would never say it all! And if it was sent to me it would def. make me want to rebel and bring something like… a Stofers lasagna to be served in big blue bowl, with soup spoons, and Boones farm wine, and maybe even Boston cream pie to mix it up a bit…Baaahaaahaaaa!
    But, sadly yes..I too kno many people who would be capable of this but with out those crazy type A personalities…You have to ask your self how would any thing get done in this world?

  11. LilPixi says:

    I know where I’d like to put Marny’s serving spoon. Hahaha.

  12. Joanee says:

    I am relegated to peeling potatoes when I go to Thanksgiving at my in-laws. I was asked to make gravy one year but no more. I was thought odd for saving the potato water for the gravy and using the turkey neck broth as well. Suits me just fine.

  13. Susanne says:

    The reading of “Marnie’s Thanksgiving Letter” has become a tradition in our house- kinda like reading “The Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve.

    I really wish that someone would post her missives every year! I am sure she has so much more to say….

  14. Jane says:

    Debra, I know I am bored and real estate is bad, but am I to read the above?
    Have a good one.

  15. Clueless Relatives says:

    I have hosted my aunt and her 3 children with one or two spouses or dates for several years. They make up about half of the guests. I’m an at home mom, and we are trying to survive on one income, meanwhile eating away at the little bit I got when my Dad died. All my cousins have better paying jobs than my husband, plus no kids. Yes, when they come they ask what they can bring…I have TRIED being very specific. I’ve sent a specific recipe, saying, I really want to try THIS recipe. It’s highly recommended, please use this recipe, only to have my aunt use a different recipe. I’ve asked for specific brands, only to have them bring a cheap knockoff…I’ve asked for them to supply appetizers, only to have them bring much less than enough. The truth is, what I could really use would be for them to kick in for some of the expenses. Or at the very least to bring me a little hostess gift once in a while. No, a pie, a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine doesn’t cut it! A bunch of flowers? Something to show appreciation???

    Okay, truthfully, the worst part is that when we go out for dinner with them a couple of days after Thanksgiving while we’re all still nearby, no one even offers to treat us for dinner!

    I’ve never had the nerve to let them know, but I think that this letter is at least one decent way of dealing with it. Many of you might have no idea what boors even very nice people can be.

    • Mary says:

      Don’t host Thanksgiving if you resent it and you feel you can’t afford it. Quit. Enjoy yourself more, be imposed upon less.

      If you do decide it’s something you want to do, do it freely and with grace, be thankful for any little help or gesture but don’t make yourself bitter counting up who owes you and never repays you. They might think their presence on a family holiday is all you want.

  16. JulieM says:

    Nothing says Thanksgiving like a note from a dictator.

  17. JulieM says:

    Sigh…nothing says Thanksgiving like a big helping of dictator.

  18. lisa says:

    If I got a letter like this one, I feel very Very VERY certain that I would quietly conspire with every member of the family to show up on T’giving day with arm loads of defiant food–merlot instead of chardonnay, no serving spoons, plastic containers covered with aluminum foil, chocolate ice cream, store bought pies and store brands of everything. After all, if no one cooperates with this T’giving Nazi, what can she do…? Refuse to host the next year…?

  19. Mona says:

    It would be great just to tweak only a little bit…like show up with 20 pounds of potatoes covered in TIN FOIL, with no spoon, oops. Oh and in last years obviously inappropriate blue serving bowl.

  20. zesty says:

    Dear Marney, I agree organizing Thanksgiving dinner is necessary. I have four daughters,son in laws and many grand’s. I also send out my Thanksgiving day menu giving each of the girls a dish to prepare according to each ones skills. I do not go to the extreme of requesting regulation size casserole dishes. Nor do I tell them how to prepare for their dishes. Thanksgiving is a special day for our family then again any time we get together is special. It most certainly makes the dinner go more smoothly if everyone helps and this Grandma is not stressed out!! Just be Thankful for all the help after all it is Thanksgiving!!

  21. LisaP says:

    Some people hoard, some people are addicts, some people count everything over and over again, and apparently some people spend all year trying to control their thanksgiving dinner!
    I would show up with asparagus mixed with turnips in a blue bowl and ‘accidently’ spill it all over the floor – maybe never to be invited again …but I sure would miss Marney’s sense of humor and ‘all those jokes’!

  22. laipappy says:

    If we could see a picture of Marney it would say a thousand words. Ya’ll would probably not be surprised to see she is a former drill SGT for the US Army or USMC. She would answer the door dressed in her Class A uniform with low quarter shoes and drill instructor hat, boot camp style. She would order her family to “Fall in!” in her “dining facility” and at close interval, open ranks inspection prior to receiving the order to “Take Seats”. The official prayer would be given by the designated prayer giver and then the order to cut the turkey would be issued. Talking would not be allowed during the meal and everyone must keep their head and eyes forward as the meal was consumed. Everyone would have to speak to her in the third person, “Maam, may this nephew of yours please have more gravy please?”After the meal Master SGT Marney would adjurn the family to the family room to consume the regulation adult beverages. Can you say sado masocishism? (sp?)

  23. Kate says:

    I keep coming back to read this every so often. It makes me laugh hardcore, even though I have a bit of control freak in me (a tiny bit). I’m lucky, though, that I can trust my family to have the judgement not to bring a bag of potato chips when they’re in charge of a vegetable side dish. I’ve read tons of comments and I can understand how some people sympathize with Marney. It totally sucks to be hosting a holiday for unappreciative people, and if you’re a host that feels taken advantage of, take the next holiday off and enjoy yourself. Marney, however, takes it too far, name brand ice cream and all. There are ways to get the point across without sounding like a crazy monster. I can’t get over how she wants someone to use *her* recipe to make pumpkin pie. If every single detail is crucial to you, then you have to get it done yourself. I’m actually surprised someone this anal is even allowing other people to contribute things other than soda, water, and paper plates.

  24. EileenM says:

    If no one likes turnips, then why bother at all? LOL, and, I like how she says, it is up to you how to prepare the beans or asparagus, but no sauce, no cheese, and please add pancetta, or a drizzle of EVOO, who does she think she is, Rachael Ray?? But for me, what the heck is a proscuitto pinwheel? I like how some people compare themselves to being the Lisa of the family, but I am definitely the Amy of the family, I wouldn’t have read it, nor would I have used her recipe for the pie!

  25. la says:

    What a great idea! Maybe if my wife did this our family might actually show up with something edible at our next holiday get together… We gave up a long time ago trying to do anything pot luck… we just cook everything ourselves. Only ask them to bring booze, soft drinks and packaged things like chips, that you can’t screw up. I actually see her sense of humor in the way she has written this.

  26. BettyC says:

    I have a sister in law is is EXACTLY like this. One year I got to her house early for a holiday and she had post it notes stuck to each tray and dish she was going to use. Written on them was what was to be placed in the dish, the accompanying spoon or serving utensil, and exactly what time to serve it. I threw up in my mouth when I saw them all around the kitchen, tens of them.

    • Amanda says:

      I think the author is extremely controlling…however I don’t know that I necessarily thing Post-Its on the dishes is a bad idea. My mom does this, and I have found myself doing this sometimes. I am really bad at plannings this out, and this method helps me make sure I don’t dirty up 3x more dishes than needed!

      • Susan says:

        Whoa Betty,

        I use the post a note trick too, especially when there is going to be a large buffet. It works! I just put the serving utensil on the serving dish so all is ready, no need to write out the serving utensil. I am not like Marney…I just like to be as organized as possible with my part of the party so I have more time to enjoy my guests when they arrive! Marney is nuts, but finding ways to make the holiday run more smoothly is smart.
        Marney’s problem is that she wants to control all of her guests…Your sis in law is just being organized.

        • kim g says:

          Yeah, my mom does the post-it notes thing (sans times for serving) and I don’t think it’s a bad or crazy idea at all. I’ve started doing it for our Super Bowl parties, in fact. It helps you keep straight everything you plan to serve and make sure you don’t forget to put anything out or forget to find a plate for something.

    • Sidra says:

      Don’t fear The Organized! The post-it trick is really helpful and keeps the soon-to-be cluttered chaos-kitchen somewhat under control.

      Now excuse me, I need to go polish my Sharpies and arrange my post-its in alphabetical color order.

  27. alwazel8 says:

    Please tell me this is fake!!

    • Sarah says:

      I agree- my husband and I are having a hard tome believing this is real.

      • Meghan says:

        You must have a pretty nice family then. Believe me, these type of people exist! haha! I forwarded this to my in-laws and they loved it! My aunt-in-law is just like this – we just dont have the proof on paper yet.

  28. Salty1 says:

    “I think Lisa should host next year’s. After all, she is a married woman now.” Hahahaha…. I’ve been laughing outloud at my desk for 15 minutes; my co-workers think I’m insane. Ahhh, that was excellent!

  29. Ben says:

    Well if you’ve made it this far maybe your part of this family and your making a revenge list or its theraputic to know your not alone or you just have a dark hart and enjoy laughing at others (me). As a father of four, ages 15 – 10, I understand Marney. I mean these kids must not have ear drums (Oly) because they never listen. My 15 year old son still leaves his wet towel on the hardwood floor, my 12 year son constanly “forgets” to do whatever chore is asked of him, my 11 year old daughter quote “I don’t know” (knod to Cosby), and my 10 year old daugter,…well she’ll will be ok ’cause we don’t ef en care anymore.
    I think this is what my 3 siblings and I finally achevied with our mom, we wore her down early, before Muggs made it to college.
    Now we have a good time, while Nina cooks the dish she was supposed to bring already prepared, while Muggs trys to contribute to the meal by drinking wine with her sister in the kitchen, and while the dads, nices, and nephews do nothing but snack and sit.
    The wine selection is now moved from $3 Chuck to boxes! We are one family fued away from the trailer park. This comment may get us there.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Happy Thanksdrinking!

  30. Doreen says:

    Gosh, I would give anything to have Marney be in charge of pot lucks at work. We might end up with something better than chips, salsa, boxed punch and chicken wings. Hands down this is the best letter I have ever read. Hahahahahaha!

  31. Algonquin says:

    I shared this “memo” with a group the night before a friend’s destination wedding. For the rest of the weekend references to “regulation size casseroles” and Clos du Bois wine sent us all into fits of laughter. Thank you, Marney, wherever you are for one of the most enjoyable weekends of our lives!

  32. Joan says:

    FUNNY,although some family,s do need some direction and if the hostess just willy nilly says just bring anything ,this can happen. The sister in law was preparing a birthday celebration for in the evening and 5 out 6 people brought eggs,pickled eggs,develed eggs,open faced egg buns and she had a bean salad. The basement smelled like a room full farts,putrid! So in Marney s defense,her family will be able to sit down to delicous meal and they will know they contributed,a good time in my books!

  33. Pokerpace says:

    Did anyone else catch the “regulation size casserole dish”? Are they in a competition of some sort where anything “non-regulation” will disqualify you? Or is it a military setting where “non-regulation” gear will lead to you scrubbing the latrine with a toothbrush?
    I thought my family was insane sometimes, but this lady takes the cake. If I were her, I’d have a food taster check my dish before I ate it, I’m sure there are a few dinner guests that would at least THINK about poisoning her food. And if it did happen, I somehow think everyone else would be ok with it and still finish eating before they called the coroner.

    • Sally says:

      What they need to do is make her a special “Thank You” Mousse or chocolate brownie and load it with chocolate exlax. She is such a gracious hostess.

  34. Kim says:

    LOL we must be related somewhere I have a family member like that.

  35. Smoked says:

    I read this letter back when it was originally posted. I love re-reading it and seeing the newest comments. It doesn’t get old. It is the funniest thing!!

  36. icantcook says:

    I’m the Lisa of the family. I don’t bring what i’m told to bring and nobody wants to eat what i bring. i like to pick up some chips and dip on my way over, then sit with the men in the living room eating them while the other women are in the kitchen.
    P.S. my sister is like this, last christmas i went to 2 movies to avoid her and she showed up at the house i went to after the movies


    Dear Marney, are you planning the 2010 Thanksgiving meal yet? What should I bring, what size casserole, do I need a spoon? My gosh I can’t make it without your instructions on preparation……should I drink the dos du bois before I come, because I think I will need to if you are the host!

  38. Emily says:

    I’d just show up and poop on the floor.

  39. reebs says:

    What a frickin bat…I’d show up with a half empty bottle of jack(that I emptied myself just beforehand), some paper plates, and that store-bought veggie tray she forbids you to bring. No peppermint bark ice cream from this little suzie homemaker.

  40. elly says:

    Oh yeah, the 15 lbs of mashed potatoes!!!! like a truckful. who’s coming to this dinner anyhow? once they all read the gestapo instructions, they’d all quit, right? even Mc Donalds would sound better for Thanksgiving after this!!

  41. carey says:

    I wanna show up drunk (but of course deny drinking), only show up with a 2 liter of dr. pepper because I thought I was in charge of “pop”, eat everything out of each bowl too early while the table being set with the same spoon and swear at every awkward monement

  42. Katherine says:

    Two bottles of clos du bois will NOT be enough to deal with her. Who’s bringing the vodka?

  43. jekka says:

    this lady needs a sedative

  44. Ann says:

    If this woman has kids, I bet they twitch continuously!!

  45. czvallery says:

    seriously-I sort of get where Marney is coming from…. But I would never have the nerve to send it out in black in white. haha-but I totally get how you can just want something done ‘the right way’. Oh gosh, good laughs-hopefully she makes up for the craziness by loving her family and being and frekin-fantabulous cook!

  46. Linette says:

    Id Love to read her Yearly Christmas Letter! What a bat!

  47. sweettreehugger says:

    Oh my goodness, I am the Lisa in my family! I left our small town to go away to college and then moved to a big city, so of course I must have no culinary skills whatsoever (all the weird organic and ethnic stuff doesn’t count, it’s a wonder my man puts up with the grass and twigs I feed him). I did not get married until – gasp- 28, so let’s all be condescending about how I lived like a hoochie and have no domestic experience and I’m gonna have to learn quick before my man is lured away by a younger domestic goddess. It’s really a wonder he married me because I don’t come across as the kind of girl you marry, if you know what I mean. Don’t ask me to bring anything of any real importance because we’ll all just be disappointed. I’m about as helpless as a man.

    i don’t really mind all the condescension and snide remarks though…I just get back at them by taking full advantage of my “honorary man” status. I sit around talking about the economy and current events after dinner, or I play with the neices & nephews – I don’t hop up to clean or pack up leftovers (since I’m just going to do it wrong anyhow). A bonus is that I don’t get gifts of kitchen appliances I’ll never use or already own – I just get endless gift baskets of soap, which is useful enough.

    • autumndaesy says:

      Right on! I married the youngest son of a family of 9, so the “assignments” were already well established before I joined the game. I’ve often wondered how they manage to jam 7 sisters and sisters-in-law into a kitchen that would comfortable fit 3 people who weren’t trying to cook. When I’m finished transferring the veggies from the plastic container to the serving platter, can I go watch football? ;)

  48. Reba says:

    I would love to be invited to this party…..and then bring sushi!

  49. Scott says:

    Props to Amy Mistro. She’ll probably remain the most sane over the years!

  50. Randy0984 says:

    Oh sure… laugh it up! But just think of the poor sap she is married to. Seriously though… funniest damn thing I’ve read in a long time. Note to Marney’s husband: My ex was nearly as bad and now, after 10 years of being divorced, the twitching has stopped and the nightmares are getting less frequent… hang in there buddy.

    • Sammie says:

      Sooo funny!! LOL!!! and you’re so right, its the funniest thing i have read in a long time. LOL!!!

    • Merry says:

      As a mother of 4 families, I’m just glad when family comes – bringing food (even all prepared) is a luxury extra! I like that they bring the wine though. I probably would not be a “friend” of this mother – not my type! The meal gets prepared, the food gets set around, people talk, eat, watch football and the most important parts are: talking and playing games. That’s my take on this. I think it is a “sad” kind of “funny!”

    • JohnS says:

      “You know how Mike is”. Yeah, probably in a rubber room since he’s married to you.

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