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. natkat says:

    My partner and I usually host some kind of holiday meal a year. My attitude has always been “feel free to bring a dish to share but it is considered extra. I already have everything I need.”. I do this because our circle of friends has the same food at every gathering, cooked to a mush and served cold. At least if we do the cooking we can look forward to having a meal with some thought put into the menu, some effort on the presentation and chafing dishes to keep the food warm. Our friends love it and talk about the food for years. We do this because we love them and want to spend time with them. If we don’t feel like hosting because we’re tired or don’t have the money, we pass and let someone else host. Holidays are for sharing and giving. If you can’t do it with the spirit of love then don’t do it at all.

  2. ian says:

    Pretty simple. Send your own Thanksgiving Letter to everyone EXCEPT Marnie. Nice and short. “How about you all come to my place for Thanksgiving and have some fun”.

  3. SleepyWeazle says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m totally picturing Hyacinth Bucket when I think of Marnie. This is just the sort of thing she would do!

  4. Ralphie says:

    Lace the turnips with ipecac…

    • bitterclinger says:

      Gah! Those turnips caught my eye, too. Who eats turnips? This is a day to be grateful for our blessings, not reminded of some (way) backbencher veggies.

  5. Squanto says:

    I wonder if some overbearing Indian woman sent a letter like this to the Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving, and that’s when the genocide began?

    • Godot51 says:

      Perhaps you need to study your history. The American Indians appeared at the first Thanksgiving but were not actually invited. They just showed up, out of concern and curiosity.

  6. Summerisle says:

    Amy Misto = Smartest, healthiest, happiest member of this family.

  7. Uncle Lenny says:

    What is a regulation size casserole dish? I know that to Marney this is a serious event so all regulations need to be followed but what is considered a technical foul in the casserole dish category? Oh, I know, an over-sized blue serving dish.

    I agree that this has potential for a great holiday classic movie. Right up there with Christmas Vacation.

    I agree that messing with her would be the hoot. You wanted turnips in a casserole dish? Fine, room temperature and still covered in wax with a plastic spoon for serving!

  8. Rebecca says:

    O.M.G! My mother and my sister in law! And I bet I know what would happen to any family group who decided to opt out! My sister -in-law cut us off because we said that after 8 years of marriage, we felt it was time to do Christmas day by ourselves for a change- I had just had a medical diagnosis that meant that I needed to rest and as her partner was also ill and she was about to lose her job I thought we would be doing them a favour! Nooo! How would she manage without her control fix and without bleeding us of money we did not have because my husband has only a carers income? Our budget for presents for her kids was ordered to exceed £20/$40? per present, her in laws and hangers on descended on us when we were ordered to host without even a hostess gift and we had to unwrap presents at top speed to that her daughter could go out with a friend. We were labelled ungrateful, lazy, dysfunctional and ‘not part of ‘this’ family’ and when we objected she attempted to get her brother (my husband) arrested (!) Oh dear; this woman may not be real, but there are many more out there who are! In my mother’s defence, she insists on doing EVERYTHING so that there is no complaint about doing it wrong!

  9. CJ says:

    Marney needs to be taught a lesson. I would bring what she asked me to bring, but would prepare it the way I wanted and do the opposite of what she suggests..ex. lid, no lid, foil, etc. I would also bring extra stuff that I like for Thanksgiving dinner. I would make enough for the people there I liked and see to it they were served first. Finally, I would bring enough alcohol for everyone to get hammered especially Marney, might even pour it in her non-alcoholic drink if she had one.

  10. Tracey says:

    Something tells me that NOBODY forgot to bring the alcohol!! I know that it was much needed at this holiday dinner!

  11. Candy says:

    I would have to tell her to kiss my turkey breast!!!!! There is no way in he** i would spend such a wonderful holiday with someone so rude and ungrateful!!!! And I would not tell her that i wasn’t coming. I would just let the empty house be her thanksgiving suprise!

  12. Dean says:

    This is why the terroists hate us.

  13. Michell says:

    Why is this grinch even hosting the dinner?? I can tell you I would not spend one holiday with this miserable person! It is clear her control freak ways do nothing to further the happiness and joy of the holidays!

  14. Chrissy says:

    I think this would make a wonderful, quirky holiday movie. Who would play Marney? Or the hapless Lisa? The turnip-loving Mike Byron family? And I can just see the infamous over-sized blue bowl!

    • Erica says:

      I laughed out loud. I can picture it now.

    • Oliver says:

      Ha! That’s brilliant. There’s even a good title already built in: “The Thanksgiving Letter.” People would go see it expecting something sappy and sentimental, and they would be treated instead to horrifying dysfunction. I would see that movie.

    • Mad Monica says:

      I would never survive this. Seriously, my overwhelming urge to fill up the biggest bowl I could find with mashed turnips, turnips au gratin, turnip tartar… anything turnip and just as offensively turnip flavored would make that trip with us. Then, after plopping it all down on the tables and counters with a cheerful, “screw you, cow” flourish, we’d hop right back into our car and head home for a Thanksgiving feast of our own. We’d spend a good part of that feast thankful that we would be enjoying a meal of our own with those whom we truly love and who love us. And when the inevitable family melt down occurred, the phones would remain unanswered, the doorbell would be ignored and all future feasts would take place at OUR home for those who just don’t have time for bitchy cows who think because they host a meal, they get to do their best Himmler impression…

  15. Sacto101 says:

    Better yet, if you’re the host and a good cook, just tell your guests NOT to bring over any side dishes. That way, we get side dishes people will eat for a change.

    • kathy says:

      Marney should NOT be doing entertaining. What an ungracious hostess. If I got a letter like this I would not only NOT attend, she would be permantly off my “family” list. How trite. Is this really what holidays are reduced to? Imagine “grandma” sending a letter out like this. The only way I can make any sense of this is that Marney is one dimensional and has zero substance. If anyone falls for this Martha Stewart wanna be and actually is stupid enough to comply you are only enabling a very demented, controlling, self indulgent woman who does not have the where with all to throw a meal together and enjoy the REALLY important part of Thanksgiving…!

  16. jasi says:

    love this letter. i would never do this but, yeah, people! lids that fit! spoons to serve! not rocket science here.

    • John says:

      If it’s not rocket science then Marney should be able to do it herself–and, even rocket scientists know to capitalize the first letter in a sentence.

  17. Mark says:

    I would do the exact opposite of everything she instructed in the letter. I would also do anything I knew pissed her off during Thanksgiving. Her attitude is all wrong. I have a grandma that used to order me around like that and it only took her 24 years to learn that asking nicely brought instant compliance and orders brought an entire day of aggravation. I hope its a joke.

  18. Gaiter says:

    omg, i hope this is filled with tons of inside jokes, otherwise if i were a member of that family, i’d be joining my in-laws for holidays!

    • Big Sister says:

      I loved this! In my family, we all take turns hosting. I have seven siblings, so often times we have 35 to 40 people for dinner. Marney is a hoot!

  19. artemus cx says:

    Sounds like my oldest daughter. And she’s not kidding. This is why we prefer to go on a cruise for the holidays.

    • ppconnell says:

      Mom, is this you?

    • bitterclinger says:

      The perfect take-along guest for Marney’sTthanksgiving? A hypnotist! Just think of all the fun everyone could have while he worked his magic on Marney! He could “suggest” an obsession with the oversized blue bowl, have her burp at the table a few times and do Jello shots of grain alcohol with the appetizers!

      What a memorable and FUN T’giving that would be!

  20. ThinkAboutIt says:

    I’m assuming this is a tongue-in-cheek letter, but there is so much truth behind it! Some of the experiences I’ve had would tempt me to send a letter like this. I had one gathering where I specified only one thing: finger foods only, please, because we had just moved in and needed to keep it as simple as possible. One person showed up with a crockpot full of chili. I had to send someone to the store to get disposable bowls, because I certainly didn’t have enough bowls in my house for a large crowd. Another time I was serving cobbler for dessert, and one family brought (unsolicited–I had not asked anyone to bring anything) a pie. I was obligated to serve it, but it meant 20 extra serving dishes and utensils. Certainly in both instances the people meant well, but they made it more difficult for me. The reason for people contributing is supposed to be to make it easier on the host/hostess, so when the “contribution” adds more work, it misses the mark. The meal shouldn’t be more important than the people, but people shouldn’t put an additional burden on the host/hostess.

    I can imagine that the infamous blue dish was so big that, as someone else said, it didn’t fit in the oven with the other things that had to be warmed at the last minute, and because of its size took forever to heat, or it was so big and perhaps so heavy that it was a monster to pass around the table. So yes, it’s a controlling (and hopefully fictitious) letter, but if you’ve ever had people do such things, you’d see where “Marney” is coming from!

    • Deb Katz says:

      No. I do NOT see at all where Marnie is coming from. So what if someone brought an oversize serving dish. The fact is, they contributed to the meal. If Marnie, or any hostess can’t get over that detail, or chooses to focus on the negative and refuses to see the humor or love, they should NEVER perform hostess duties. Every gathering has things of this nature happen. It’s called “life” and “family” and you look over it, take pictures, and when everyone is gone, you look back and laugh. It’s not worth the headache. Either stop hostessing or get a sense of humor and enjoy your loved ones. It’s not worth sacrificing the relationships. The relationships are the reasons we gather, not the serving bowls. Have a nice holiday and be grateful you have food and family.

    • you'rekiddingright? says:

      You’re Marney, aren’t you….?

    • OneToQuibble says:

      I totally understand. I had someone volunteer to bring mashed potatoes, which I happen to like making myself, but I thanked her for her help. She showed up an hour before the appointed meal time with a 5 pound bag of potatoes and asked for a pot, a peeler, a cutting board, and a knife. Once set to boil, she left the kitchen (without cleaning up any of her mess), and went outside for a smoke. After the pot boiled over and filled up the well on my stove, she needed a strainer, a masher and a hand mixer, all of which she left covered with potatoes, wherever she finished using them. THEN she needed a big bowl. After the meal, she wanted a container to take home the leftovers.

      I can’t decide whether I will ever invite her for dinner again. If I do, I will certainly ask her NOT to bring anything.

      • paintpaintpaint says:

        Just say to her “I’ve got the potatoes covered this year, thanks!” If you ‘need’ to bring anything, just chips and dips in their bowls will be great!

    • natkat says:

      If being a hostess is such a chore, don’t do it. Lots of stores will prepare a full dinner for you if it’s too much for you to handle. I don’t understand why people don’t just stay home and celebrate with immediate family. It is much simpler and oh so more enjoyable.

    • Mic C says:

      Yes, the offensive pie and chili bringers. They should be rooted out of families. Some people make better guests than hosts. And some people should just stay home alone.

    • Kal says:

      Heaven forbid someone bring an UNSOLICITED pie to a Thanksgiving dinner!!! Oh, the horror.

  21. TDaySolidarity says:

    I am Amy Misto!

  22. Uncuw Biww says:

    I bet the dinner itself is a blast!

  23. Michelle says:

    This email is AMAZING. And Marney is my hero.

  24. Gina says:

    Marney is my hero.

  25. Melissa says:

    This is hilarious! This made my Thanksgiving.

  26. June from Sydney says:

    Lighten up people. I thought this was hugely funny.

  27. blizlady says:

    Is this letter written “tongue in cheek” to make fun of people who ask family members to bring a pot luck dish to holiday dinners? This is almost too unreal. Either that, or the family normally does do pot luck and this is just Marney’s goofy sense of humor and her family thinks it’s! Because If I would send something like that out, my family would not come for Thanksgiving dinner! I am hosting our family of 20 for dinner this year and did not ask anybody to bring anything. But if anyone was kind enough to offer, I did give them a suggestion (some are great with desserts and others like to do appetizers). My nephew is making his “famous” dressing that is his grandmothers recipe, so that is normally traditional.

    But I have hosted plenty of pot luck parties (usually 50 people) at our office where people brought dishes to pass, and some times they did not really finish the preparation (brought salad ingredients separately that needed to be tossed; desserts that needed cutting and plating, crock pot items that were still cold because they didn’t think to plug it in before lunch, blah blah). But it never rubbed me the wrong way because I could only do so much to set things out in the short time we have, so sometimes dishes get put on the table incomplete and the person who brought it normally puts it together at the last minute. So now we have a “plan”, a better way to put it than “rules”, that desserts should be cut in portions; if it’s a hot dish, the person bringing it has to heat it up and bring it to the table; last minute salad tossing, plating, etc. is always done by the person bringing the dish. But we have plenty of serving spoons in our office kitchen so people don’t have to bring their own.

  28. DrummaLady says:

    I just posted this on my FB page. Mainly because its a good reminder of how stupid, petty and unreasonable people can be during the holidays. It is supposed to be a time of joy, family and togetherness. People like Marney always ruin it. I’ve had 2 friends in my life that could have very well written that letter. The key word is “had”. Life is too short to deal with insufferable control freaks.
    As for Amy Misto of The Amy Misto Family. You rock on sister! Continue to NOT read this psycho womans yearly babble.

    • Bear says:

      Forgot to put your stuffing in a non-regulation size casserole 3 years ago and have been punished for it ever since?

      • Deb Katz says:

        I just replied virtually the same thing to another reader. Marnie, if real (and it sounds like she may be), is a skosh neurotic-and I’m a psychologist. I like your attitude, and I’m sure your family and friends do as well. Have a great holiday season! Deb

  29. p says:

    i sympathize to a degree. i am hosting – and did not take this tact. i have cooked maybe 15 turkeys so far in my life. …but one of the attendees is trying so worrieed about the details they are driving me nuts. wants to bring the stuffing, yams, pies and potato. and so i ask you. why are we bothering to have the celebration at our house? i suppose we can make brussel sprouts. and buy wine. lots of wine.

  30. Boot says:

    Every year we host a Thanksgiving dinner with a minimum of ten people and as many as twenty-five. We NEVER ask someone to bring a dish but graciously accept an offer to bring something. We always make sure that whatever someone CHOOSES (and is not assigned) to bring, is something that is a nice addition but not a necessity…so that in the event that person, for whatever reason, cannot attend…the meal will not suffer. For us, gatherings are meant to be stress-free and something to look forward to….never something to dread. Even with feeding so many people, we don’t stress ourselves either. With careful planning and proper time management, it all comes together easily. I pity the members of this family, including Marney, for the lack of harmony in what should be a joyous occassion.
    I would be so supremely offended if I received this letter from a loved one. So much so, that I’d bow out of the gathering altogether.

    Also, I’ve felt compelled to contribute at “the adult level” since a teenager. Cooking can be such fun and it’s nice to WANT to help the host/hostess. It’s when it becomes expected that the resentment happens.

  31. Bob Toben (an alias) says:

    This woman sounds as bossy as Michelle Obama telling us how to eat while
    she stuffs her fat face….I would sabotage Marny’s thanksgiving somehow….I
    just couldn’t help it…..a stick of dynamite in the turnips possibly.

  32. Marilyn says:

    I think her family should all go out to dinner on Thanksgiving……… seperate resturants.


    • Zia says:

      Two years ago my mom sent us actual in-the-mail invitations to Denny’s. It was one of the single greatest holidays (ours was Christmas Eve) EVER! This lady needs to chill.

  33. Meredith says:

    “Lisa as a married woman you are now required to contribute at the adult level.”

    Poor Lisa….what has she married herself into? I bet she’s regretting agreeing to spending the holidays with HIS side of the family.

  34. Bear says:

    On closer reading of Marney’s email to family, I’ve noticed that Marney was setting Lisa Byron up for a big failure on her first attempt contributing to the meal on an adult level.

    Marney didn’t tell Lisa which vegetables to bring or how to cut them up and also didn’t say what kind of dip to bring or how much of it!

  35. Missing Family says:

    Right on Marney! She has the guts to send this to her family/friends – more power to her. She probably has years of experience with these folks and realizes that the only way she’ll survive the holiday, is to tell everyone exactly what she expects. If they don’t like it – they don’t have to attend. On another note….it makes me realize that no one is perfect. Expectations run high through the holidays. Maybe she just wants to experience one holiday, where everyone is on time, everyone is happy and everyone is thankful to have each other. By doing this letter, maybe there is hope for all of them to have peace of mind (they just don’t realize it)!

    • John says:

      “If they don’t like it, they don’t have to attend”. Exactly, and that’s the point. People will not attend because Marney is a horse’s rear-end, and she’ll be left contemplating, “hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t have been such an anal lunatic.” Meanwhile, her family will have a much better time somewhere else not having to put up with such a tight-ass.

      • Barbara says:

        I’d attend just for the entertainment value. I’d get there before anyone else so i could watch her as she checks each dish to be sure it’s exactly what she said and then to see her head start to spin off when Lisa screws up the fresh veggie platter! Oh the joy, the joy!!!

    • VZG says:

      Or maybe she’s just crazy and overbearing, and her family just wanted to have some fun together instead of stressing out about whether or not they got her exact recipe and measurements right and buying new dishes just to please her.

      She is SPECIFYING DISHES. Not just the food in them, but the actual dishes they will be served from, and the way they will be served.

      If you want to have a “perfect” holiday and don’t trust your family to do it, do it yourself or do it alone.

    • Kal says:

      If she really wanted to experience one holiday where everyone is happy and is thankful to have each other, she NEVER would have sent this letter in the first place. Regulation size dishes? LIDS mean LIDS! She sounds like someon I am thankful I don’t have in my life. She’s belittling her family members and making a joke of Thanksgiving. The getting together part is more important then the “your food better be made to my EXACT specifications” part.

  36. Kelly says:

    I thought the Thanksgiving menu was Turkey and salads I suppose and Pumpkin Pie…what are all these other dishes? my image of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner is being ruined :-(
    Although,seeing how much work is involved,im rather glad we don’t celebrate it over here.

    Its this month isn’t it? Happy Thanksgiving month to you all :-)

    • Bear says:

      Turkey, stuffing (or dressing depending on where you’re from and if it’s cooked in the bird or out of the bird) or mashed potatos, cranberry sauce, sweet potatos or candied yams, some kind of relish tray (veggies and dip) and pies are very common but families add their other favorite family dishes which are often regional or ethnic in origin. I know people who have lasagna instead of the turkey dinner and others have saur kraut and kielbasa. Even though it is a holiday the country as a whole celebrates, it is very personal to individual families, which explains the angst and insanity that many people experience.

      Why don’t we read stories about Canadians going freakin’ crazy on their Thanksgiving Day? It must not be a holiday with family expectations ike the US holiday. Did it cross anyone’s mind that Marney and her family might have been celebrating the Canadian Thanksgiving? I doubt it.

      • Matilda says:

        @Bear, Canadian Thanksgiving is not in November as the date states in the letter!

      • Brittani says:

        Yeah, our Thanksgiving was last month. And it’s not NEAR the big ‘to-do’ it is in the US. My family (and I mean just my mother, stepdad and siblings) have a turkey and call it a day. It’s essentially an excuse for kids away at university to come home for the weekend, see their family, then proceed to go out and drink with their friends. (I work full-time and don’t drink, but I’m the same age as said university kids, so I know these things lol). There’s no drama!

      • alytron says:

        Because Canadians are very different in many ways, or so it would seem from observing stuff like this ;)

        For most people there are expectations, that you’ll have a turkey dinner with your family, it’s supposed to be about hanging out with them etc. But maybe we’re just more mellow…

    • VZG says:


      My family personally never did pumpkin pie — not enough of us like it. We do turkey, stuffing (which is common), cranberry jelly, kielbasa, lots of mashed potatoes, and maybe green beans or corn.

      No casseroles, thank god, and no turnips. I guess it depends on the family (although I don’t think I’d advocate bringing anything with turnips in it if no one likes them, personally). The idea of a plain vegetable platter seems kind of odd to me, actually, but I always see that as a “stand around and talk while snacking” kind of thing, and Thanksgiving has always been a sit-down-and-eat holiday for us. Eating beforehand (or anything other than cake or pie for dessert, if we can even manage that) seems like a bad idea to me.

      • Bear says:

        I have a feeling that turnips in a casserole is the signature dish of someone in the Mike Byron family and they never attend a party without it. And they must never take the leftovers home afterwards since Marney had to gently suggest they only bring a small amount.

    • acsenray says:

      She’s not asking someone to bring turkey — the implication is that she’s going to make it herself.

      • SarcasticGenius says:

        Thankfully, it does sound like she’s making the turkey, or that would be a whole other letter by itself.

    • Ingrid says:

      I think that Marney might be contributing a lot of the other dishes, you know since you could not possibly trust your family with the more delicate things that make Thanksgiving perfect. You know like thankfulness for being together and happiness for all that you have, oh wait, that is not in the letter

  37. Beqi says:

    I think every single event this person throws would result in ever increasingly creative illnesses causing me to miss it and hang out with people whose correspondence does NOT cause heart palpitations.

    • lori says:

      I need to find out if they sell “regulation” sized cassarole dishes at Sur la Table or Willams-Sonoma…does it come with a rulebook?

    • Bear says:

      But might get you emails telling you exactly how to avoid being sick, how to take care of yourself better, what to do about your illness this time, how to manage your health in a better way on a daily basis. The proper way to make chicken soup and what kind of pot to use.

      Once Marney gets hold of you she never lets go.

      • VZG says:

        “Sorry Marney, I followed your instructions to the letter and I only felt worse. I think it was the soup, actually! On top of the flu, I may be out of commission until the new year!”

  38. Cassie says:

    This is fabulous! There are only a few weeks to get one of these out to my own family, so I’d better start writing. Thanks for the inspiration, Marney.

  39. Jessica says:

    I admire this letter. It’s not Marney’s fault her family obviously can’t thing on their own!!!!

  40. Bear says:

    Dear people who don’t understand Marney,

    When you’re sitting at your Thanksgiving feast feeling relaxed and peaceful please take a moment to notice the exhausted and tense person running back and forth from the kitchen making sure you have everything you need to make this the wonderful day you expect for yourself (after a month of planning, shopping, cooking and organizing everyone else’s contributions if there actually are any) and tell them to sit down and enjoy their meal because the day should be enjoyed by all, not just the people who aren’t doing anything but showing up with a can of warm cranberry sauce and a $6 bouquet of mums they bought at the traffic light down the road.

    • Dana says:

      It is possible to have people bring things and not be so anal about it. My huge family manages to pull it off every year with just a few phone calls. We take turns doing the turkey.

      • Bear says:

        You probably have a family that works well together even when it’s not Thanksgiving. If a family has a lot of issues the rest of the year, they’re going to intensify at a big family gathering. Plus, I think that in some families food is equated with love and is used for control. Not a pretty picture at a major food holiday!

        • VZG says:

          Or a family that doesn’t cooperate and manages to still make it stress-free, like mine.

          If it’s that much of a stress, it’s not worth doing, especially if you have to inflict stress on everyone else involved.

    • Ingrid says:

      Yes, because heaven forbid that a bleu serving dish would be used, that would totally ruin the decor! I am a more relaxed host, BECAUSE I want everyone to have a good time, celebrating what the holiday is about. I have never felt stressed out because my guests are gracious when something goes wrong, since I treat them with grace.

    • teri says:

      Oh BS. Maybe YOUR family is that way. Ours never was. everyone pitched in, and NO ONE needed over-bearing directions, either. And anyone who didn’t cook got “AD” duty….that’s AFTER dinner….ie: clean up. Everyone contributes. I now spend Thanksgiving at my god-daughter’s house. We call it the misfits Thanksgiving. My parents, sister and brother are all too far away to spend the holiday with. So now we all gather at Andi’s and everyone does something. My specialty is the freshly made cranberry sauce and a low-fat cranberry cheesecake. My BFF (god-daughter’s mom) brings the Turduken. We have a BALL cooking. Most of the guys are gone for a few hours to the Lion’s game but the rest of us cook, drink wine and visit. Ironically, Andi, her husband and most of their friends are surgeons yet it’s a friend who is a supervisor in a plant who does the carving of the bird(s). We all pitch in with clean up too. It’s a grand time. No stress (well, unless someone is on call), lots of laughter, great food and great company. It is what you make of it.

    • Cheryl says:

      Marnie will probably be sitting in the kitchen with a bottle of clos du bois chardonnay and Haagen Daz Peppermint Bark Ice Cream

    • kit says:

      Who has to spend A MONTH shopping and cooking and planning and organizing for THANKSGIVING???
      If you’re having extended guests and you’re taking more than two weeks tops while you’re going to your full time job and raising kids then…you’re doing something wrong.

  41. Connie Wilder says:

    My favorite part is she thinks Amy never reads the emails. I can guarantee you she does, the just doesn’t give a crap.

  42. Uh oh says:

    A tab of acid in Marnie’s clos du bois would change this families holidays for the next 10 years.

  43. kawiho says:

    Okay, I’ve read this letter several times and have a largish family and larger family-in-law. I have everyone else’s objections to Marnie, but here’s another of mine…

    Lisa – she has to contribute at the adult level now – with veggies and dip? And not even a big one? Oh, wait, that’s not my objection. She has to contribute as an adult only now that she’s married? I married later, and I met/meet up with the attitude often that if you’re not married, you’re not a real adult.

    But I could handle just bringing veggies and dip, I suppose!

    • Kay says:

      I loved that comment! Great laugh. I am 49 and happily never married. What? I don’t have to contribute! Ha! I love it.

      • ElCee says:

        I wish! Also single but ALWAYS expected to bring something. Clearly I have been doing something wrong all these years but Lisa figured it out. The up side, of course, is that no one expects little ole me to host.

        • T8 says:

          Um, it’s quite possible that Lisa is like, 22 or 24 and had been too young/living at home/not counted as quite an adult yet- that’s how I took it. I’m 21, the youngest, and still get away with not having to contribute when the older people are entertaining. You guys seem to have forgotten the whole early 20s=adult child business. Frankly, I’m enjoying it while I can. When I’m married (even if it’s next year) I won’t be able to get away with not contributing “on an adult level”. Likewise, the fact that it’s just dip and veggies likely proves Lisa’s inexperience in Marney’s eyes at least- with making complex dishes. I’m betting she’s 23 or so and newly married.

          • teri says:

            We kids got either BD or AD duties (before dinner such as setting the table or after dinner, such as loading the dishwasher). If the “kids” in your family don’t have to do anything they are the poorer for the experience.

          • alytron says:

            I’ve been cooking for thanksgiving and christmas since I was at least 15….
            Not like, forced labour :P just helping out as much as possible either before or on the day.

  44. jane says:

    this chick would not last five minutes with my loud, rowdy family! i always host thanksgiving; my daughters and i get together in October and decide who’s bringing what, and it always works out great. we always wind up with some extra folks at the table and we’re super happy to have them. we’re a pretty laid-back crew, and my main concern is that everyone is comfortable and happy. We’re trying to make wonderful memories for the grandchildren.

  45. Sasha says:

    I couldn’t imagine anyone turning a time that should be spent enjoying the company of our loved ones into such a strict and cold event. A time for relaxation and enjoyment, turned into a stressful, dreaded event. IF this is for real, it’s so sad to me. =(

  46. says:

    …Marney will be the talk of the Thanksgiving when she no longer is there. … and it won’t be pretty…

  47. Bear says:

    Some day, Marney will be no more and her large extended family will be sitting at the Thanksgiving table with nothing to eat but a very large cheesy turnip and green bean casserole that was served cold because it was in a dish too large to fit in the oven and all they’ll have to serve it with is a soup ladle and everyone will have to take turns swigging out of a gallon jug of water and then they’ll wish Marney had been there to take charge.

  48. I host BIG barbeques once in a while, and people enjoy my skills, I just ask that people contribute, because I got sick of people mooching off of me. Unfortunately, people often bring things that REALLY don’t work well, so I’ve had to make up a list of rules. Either $5 or follow them:

    Anyone is invited – just one rule: NO MOOCHERS.

    To not be a moocher you MUST bring either money (Five Dollars) or an acceptable side dish.

    The following things have all failed to be acceptable side dishes in the past:

    1) loaves of bread
    2) chips
    3) soda
    4) any combination of chips and soda (ie chips in soda, or chip soda…soda chips) none of these are acceptable
    5) unopened, uncooked cans of vegetables
    6) ANY side dish that is unready to eat
    7) pitchers of water
    8) it really must be enough to feed at least the amount of food that you would plan on consuming.
    9) Ask yourself this: Will I actually want to eat this myself? Is this something I would actually try to serve to the woman/man of my dreams? If the answer to these questions is NO it is NOT an acceptable side dish.

    It might seem strict, but we ended up with 12 bags of leftover chips for one event, one girl brought ONE can of unopened unprepped green beans, and handed them to me to prepare, and one guy sat there and begged us to let him in by offering one small pitcher of water, or 3/4ths of an old Wonderbread loaf he had leftover from who knows when.

    • chris f says:

      I think you and Marney could make beautiful music together. I’ll set it up and tell her to bring five bucks.

      • Not an expert says:

        Wait, does Marney’s 5 bucks need to be a crisp new bill, a check, a money order, coins, or any combination of those? PLEASE PLEASE be more specific. Could she simply bring a regulation side dish in lieu of 5 bucks? Would she need to provide a serving spoon as well? Would a dessert be acceptable? What if she brings soup? Then can she bring soup spoons? I am soooo confused.

    • VZG says:

      As long as you don’t tell people what they HAVE to bring, what recipe to follow, what container to bring it in, the exact measurements of the container and weight of the food, and how to serve it, you’re an improvement on Marney by far.

      Although if I were you I’d just stick to asking for monetary contributions.

    • JB says:

      I think if you’re inviting people over to a gathering that you have volunteered to host, then by definition said people are called “guests” not “moochers.” If someone has to produce gift items while begging to be let in, newsflash: you’re doing it wrong.

    • natkat says:

      Of the big barbecues are such a hassle then stop hosting them, or have a small barnecue that you can handle on your own.

  49. katie says:

    I have an aunt like this. Very, very controlling of the whole affair. Ironically, she’s usually pretty laid back, but on holidays she essentially morphs into a housewife drill sergeant. Bring this, but not that (you don’t prepare it right!) and by George, please don’t show up in sweats and sneakers. Don’t you dare answer a work call in the middle of dinner, place the napkins neatly in your laps and use correct silverware for the appropiate dish. And if you must use the restroom, please refrain from anything but the liquid variety. If you really can’t help it please be discreet and spray the Febreeze generously.

    I’m not even making this up..that was all in the holiday invintations (although the bathroom business was in an “urgent” e-mail,) complete with some corny Hallmark greeting, we’d receive months in advance..

    • FanOfMarney says:

      You know, Kara (who kindly submitted this) has changed the names of people in this story.
      “Marney” might as well your aunt in different name.
      If it does, would you kindly share another letter of her here, if any?
      Considering we’re curious what happens to her all these years :)

    • John says:

      I’ll give your aunt the benefit of the doubt in on area, taking a work call during dinner. It’s very rude, not to mention pretentious. No one’s job, with the possible exception of doctor, is that important that a phone call can’t wait until the meal is done and you can take it privately. Many times, this is just a person’s subconscious way of displaying to the family, “hey, look how SO VERY IMPORTANT I am, I just MUST take this work call!”

      • VZG says:

        I’d agree about social calls, but I’ve certainly known people (my father) to have business that would land them in serious trouble if they didn’t answer calls promptly. He’d be nice enough to excuse himself from the table, but Thanksgiving is not worth being threatened with a firing.

      • Ingrid says:

        Some people DO have on-call for work, like it or not. I agree with social calls, or texting etc. I think that is rude no matter what the occasion is for a get together. But I had a job where I did have to answer the phone sometimes and I did not have the choice not to. My calls were private and I would leave the room and find somewhere private

    • Jane says:

      I’m trying to imagine how I would react if someone answered their cell phone or txt message or whatever at the Thanksgiving dinner table. I can’t even imagine having to ask!

    • BeenThere says:

      The bathroom rules are right on, and so much better than posting a sign in the downstairs powderroom ” #1 only” or something like that.

      Seriously,please take advantage of the fact that we’re fortunate enough to have an upstairs bathroom, far removed from the social areas of the house.

    • megan says:

      I’m actually on your aunt’s side on this. No one wants Cousin Sally’s terrible apple pie, you know?

      I also had relatives who would show up to every holiday wearing sweatpants. (They could afford to wear nice pants and button-down shirts, fwiw.) They looked like slobs.

      Sending it in a paper invitation months in advance is over the top, but I think your aunt has had it up to her eyeballs with people treating a big family get-together like it’s nothing important.

      • Shannon says:

        I can’t imagine caring what my family members were wearing when they showed up to a family gathering, as long as they were wearing *something.*

  50. Control Freak says:

    I host Thanksgiving dinner for a crowd every year. And I have serious control issues. The year somebody showed up five minutes before dinner was going on the table, with instant mashed potatoes still in the box, that was the last year I accepted anybody’s offer to bring a dish to one of my dinners.

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