The Thanksgiving Letter

November 26th, 2009

The Thanksgiving Letter - Thanksgiving

Β 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. Cori says:

    Oh, how I love reading this each year. It just never gets old! I would go to this dinner with the sole purpose of “tweaking” my contribution just enough to mess with her head. Oh Marney, I need more of you in my life….please publish editions for other Holidays!

    Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

  2. Dru says:

    She is my hero. Her family has probably shown up to her home every year expecting some incredible dinner that she has spent hundreds of dollars to put together, while they enjoy family time, watch football, ate, and then went home happy. Sounds like a few of the wives got a clue, and finally offered to help… and she is finally going to get even with them. Well done.

  3. Sarah says:

    Is anyone else a little confused why bottled water is needed? Does Marney not own glasses?

    • ehlara says:

      Maybe Marney is tired of washing a jillion cups after all these people leave. I’m making an estimate of 22 guests based on two kids per family but no kids for the apparently newlywed Lisa. That’s a crapload of cups to wash, or throw away.

  4. Bill says:

    if I were to ever get one of those letters guess where I would not be going to have Thanksgiving

  5. gmg says:

    Oh, sigh, I had to come back for my annual reading of this hilarious masterpiece. Besides the condescension to her newlywed family member (‘”you are now required to contribute at the adult level”), I think my favorite bit is that when you tally up everything everyone else has been ordered to make, you come to the likely conclusion that Marney herself is going to … cook a turkey. That’s it. All the side dishes and desserts are being made by other people, yet the tone of the letter is that of a martyr par excellence, someone who is utterly exhausted by the thought of the overwhelming amount of dinner prep she believes she is going to be doing.

    “A fabulous Thanksgiving dinner does not make itself” — too true, Marney. Much better to bully all your relatives into doing most of it for you! πŸ˜€

    • Sarah says:

      I know this may be just my family, but when someone offers to host they make most of the meal. People usually make something extra if they want, or if they are “famous” for something. A lot of times the guest bring the wine. I could never imagine my mom not just demanding people make something, but demanding how they make it.
      But for us Thanksgiving isn’t about the food. It’s about family aka being super passive aggressive towards family members about something that happened a decade ago, having mild arguments with multiple people over a political debate , and remembering the screwed up things that make us a family.

      • sjc says:

        Hmmm…if someone offers to host….they should make everything??? How fair is that? They have to clean the house, get the dishes/plates/silverware that people are going to eat off of ready and they are going to have to clean up after everyone! Sounds like she is making JUST.THE.TURKEY! She is doing a hell of a lot more than making just.the.turkey! I wonder if she is the one that hosts every year? I know I WOULDN’T be hosting every year if I had to make everything and everyone else just showed up…sometimes bringing something from the deli from the grocery store that barely feeds 2 people when there are 40+ people there! Way to go Marney!!

        Sarah, my guess is people usually don’t volunteer to host every year if they have to do everything.

        • Nancy says:

          Well, I have made the entire Thanksgiving dinner every year since 1987. I make plenty for a crowd. We have often had last minute guests. I rock Tgiving dinner and I don’t want someone else mucking it up.

          If I invite you to my home for a meal, I expect you to show up with just a willingness to eat, drink and be merry.

          If one is unwilling to host, one should not.

          • joe says:

            Like a boss nancy. Rock on you glorious champion of actually understanding what hosting means. You rule.

  6. Jodi Rives says:

    The passive-aggressive is strong with this one. Everyone should just say f*** all and bring whatever they want. Or let her be lonely.

  7. Haley says:

    If I was Amy, the second I read “why do I bother she will never read this” I would have said “okay,” put the letter down, and then just brought whatever I felt like. It’s a win-win situation, I don’t have to make pie to exacting standards, and Marney gets to be right about me, which I reckon she’d prefer to the pie.

  8. Geowyn says:

    I would love to attend that Thanksgiving. Marney is the kind of person with whose head I love to mess, I wouldn’t be able to help myself. By the time I had finished with her she would be sitting in a corner wearing a regulation size casserole while the rest of us had a great time.

  9. Ekaterina says:

    My ex-sister in law used to give instructions like this. What a control freak! When her son graduated high school, she wanted to throw him a party. I asked if my then-husband and I could bring anything to add to the celebration, and this is what she instructed:

    Broccoli, Cauliflower, Bacon Salad (use only her own recipe). Homemade Dressing (use only her own recipe). Fill (5) 1-gallon zip-lock bags with salad. Do not bring 5 gallons in one container. Do not add dressing; use separate container. Bring serving spoon; not tongs.

    Bring (4) platters of Italian Cookies.

    Make table cards for each food item on her list (about 20 cards)

    Contribute a specific amount to the cost of a 6 piece luggage set for his gift.

    First of all, we had already bought her son a very nice present; but we were expected to give money for his luggage set.

    Secondly, 4 platters of cookies from an Italian Bakery cost us about $150.

    Third, regarding the salad, let me tell you how I spent my morning the day of his party. It took hours to cook 5 pounds of bacon and crumble it, then we had to cut, wash, and assemble the broccoli, cauliflower, bacon salad. Then we had to shred about 5 pounds of cheese. Then we had to stuff it all into zip-lock bags. Then I had to drive miles to the bakery and pick up the 4 platters of cookies. I don’t even think I had time to shower!

    Did she appreciate any of it? I’ll never know since she never said anything.

    And by the way, this is also the same person who asked for specific things for her Christmas presents. One year she actually DREW what size hoop earrings to buy her, and even stated what carat they had to be!

    Oh, and one last thing, this is also the same person who DIDN’T appreciate my contribution of a fruit salad one year for Christmas because it was store-bought. Every single year thereafter she made a point to say ‘make sure it’s FRESH fruit!’.

    What a passive-aggressive, unappreciative control freak. Good riddance.

    • nutthb says:

      She sounds crazy and annoying…but all I can think of reading this whole post is how much I love my dad’s bacon, broccolli and cauliflower salad.

      But, seriously? Drawing the appropriate size hoop earrings? I hate getting people gift cards, but she’s be getting a gift card.

    • Elli says:

      That’s overshooting passive aggressive and heading straight for active aggressive. Yikes.

  10. Cindy says:

    If anyone in my family even thought of sending one of these letters out, the letter sender would be having Thanksgiving dinner alone. Marney needs to get a life and think outside the box. She’s missing out.

  11. gloria p says:

    This reminds me of the letter from the Bridezilla to her bridesmaids in which she demanded the all let their hair grow (wedding was a year off) dye it the same color and wear it in the same style. They also had to be prepared to walk down a circular staircase and “twirl” on the landing. Plus they had to learn the “classic Viennese Waltz” and be prepared to perform at the reception.

  12. YoMama says:

    Have y’all seen “The Help?” I might have to bring Marney one of Miss Minny’s “special” chocolate pies. Btw… I got one of these letters this year. There were even instructions to bring a roll of toilet paper for each person in your family! That was my absolute favorite part! Control freaks are so fun!!!

  13. tam says:

    I think this is very rude. If one recalls the entire idea behind thanksgiving is you join together with what you have, (let’s face it alot of us do not have much); and you give thanks together for what you do have and SHARE OUT OF LOVE. There is no love here.

  14. JPM says:

    How in the WORLD has no one snatched this up yet and made a Broadway musical out of it? I sense an award winner……

  15. Micheline says:

    I love Marnie. From someone who has been hosting Thanksgiving dinner for forty years if I got a letter like that I would be certain to bring exactly what she says. And happy to do it. She is my idol!

    • Vanessa C. says:

      Ugh your friends and family have let you host Thanksgiving for forty years! yawn! hahaha. Now I know what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving that I’m not part of yours or Marneys family Cheers!!!! hahahahaha

      • sadi says:

        I agree with you Vanessa. I have a family member like Marney, and no one enjoys going to her house for the holidays. I’m doing Thanksgiving this year again, and my family is very happy about it. I make most of the dinner, and they bring a dish to pass, but I don’t freak out about it. It is supposed to be a day to give thanks, share love, and have FUN with your loved ones.

        Too bad so many don’t get that.

      • Bill says:

        maybe the reason they still come and do her bidding is she makes a great tasting turkey plus they don’t have to do much I know one thing I would write on the envelope RETURN TO SENDER!!!!! after I resealed it

  16. David MacGuire says:

    Marney is the everywoman who lives in the middle of everyone, and got Momma and Daddy’s BIG dining room set, so she is invariably stuck hosting the big family get togethers EVERY DAMN YEAR. Great Aunt Polly used to bring that awful pearl onion casserole that everyone hated, but she died last year. Marney wants to make sure that NOBODY makes the yucky traditional dishes that nobody eats. They just take up room on the counter and table. I kind of feel for her, but next year she needs to go on a damn cruise, or something, let people eat Thanksgiving Dinner at home and have a good time.

  17. diane says:

    I laughed the whole time reading this. EVOO is a relatively new term, I think this is real. My favorite is “regulation” size casserole.

    • faryl says:

      That was the bit that got me too πŸ™‚

      I’d like to know what is wrong with the June Davis family’s oversize blue serving dish from last year.

      • ponygirl82 says:

        OMG – it doesn’t fit on the table!!! Outrageous you did not figure that one out.

        • kaf says:

          …or was impossible to fit in the oven with all the other mandated contributions??

          • Julie Qidwai says:

            Nothing is allowed to go in the oven, did you not read the part about there only being 3 options: hot and ready to serve, warm or room temperature? πŸ™‚ I think she’s trying to say that there is no provision at her home for re-heating or cooking your contributions.

  18. Jasmine says:

    I wish someone would provide such detailed instructions, I hate to attend a gathering with my family of 4 and not feel like I’ve made enough of a contribution.

  19. Shannon says:

    This NEVER gets old for me. I read it faithfully every (Canadian) Thanksgiving. Even if it’s not real, it’s never not funny.

  20. Robyn says:

    I would show up with a suitcase from White Castle.

  21. Helen Patton says:

    This has to be fake. I have hosted many holiday meals and never expected people to bring food. If they did great but I feel since I invited them I provide the food and beverage. As a guest to meals I offer to bring food or drink and more times then not have been told it is not necessary. Then I bring a hostess gift and help with the clean up.

    Marnie should stop hosting Thanksgiving

    • sadi says:

      We used to be able to do that, however the family is much bigger and our paychecks are much smaller.

      I ALWAYS offer to bring something to every get together to help the hostess, and I help with clean up. It is just too expensive these days to provide everything when you have a large family and a small budget.

      But, I’m not anal about what they bring, and I certainly don’t dictate the dish, or serving spoons to bring! Marney sounds like the life of the party…NOT.

  22. Christa Hamann says:

    You all put to much into what the food is to be consumed. Is it not about seeing everybody? Is the food all you can think of? For me is is always seeing everybody, well and a life. I don’t eat so much anyway and could go and bring what is required, so what. Are we still all together next year?

  23. Chris says:

    Screw Marney! Bring a fruit salad!

  24. Matt says:

    I can’t believe this Marney. We would be staying home for a quiet thanksgiving meal without her in attendance. Makes me thankful for our family. Think I would have to write something of a humorous sarcastic response back. Wow! Are there really people out there like this??? Rhetorical. Scary to think- but there are ;).

  25. Susan says:

    She reminds me of Martha Stewart

    • mary says:

      no kidding! can you imagine the nightmare of having her over for the holidays? let’s focus on everything trivial that has absolutely no meaning while ignoring the whole point of getting together. maybe she and marney could get together… that would make an interesting combination- yikes.

      no family is perfect, but at least they could put the “fun” in dysfunctional… πŸ™‚

      • Leigh Ann says:

        I was watching an interview with Martha Stewart. She said no one invites her over because they think everything has to be perfect and special but the real truth? She really likes grilled cheese sandwiches and hot dogs. She’d probably be grateful to sit down to a meal she didn’t make for a change.

  26. Johnny says:

    This is an old chain email that’s been floating around the internet for years. I don’t know where it originated, or if it’s even real, but I think it’s great.

  27. kat says:

    What the hell is regulation size casserole dish??

  28. Wendy16 says:

    Marny is a riot! I never fail to read this letter at least once weekly because she is so TYPICAL of so many women out there. I’m surprised she’s hosting a dinner at all, doesn’t seem to look forward to it. I wonder if her house is a mess and thinks that is funny.

  29. PhillyGally says:

    If nobody likes turnips then why make them?? Not too bright there, Marney!

    • Beth says:

      I think it could be that family’s “specialty,” and maybe Marney knows they won’t screw it up. If she had to choose between them not bringing anything or bringing something only a few people will like, she’d rather they help out.

  30. Rhonda says:

    I wonder if she can bring herself to pull the plastic coverings off her living room furniture for the BIG DAY? ……. Naw, no way.

  31. Afraid to Type my Name says:

    I am afraid to type my real name. I wonder if “Marnie”s name is real or has been changed for this website. I think I might know her or one of her relatives.

  32. Jessica Cannon says:

    About the time, I got a letter like this from a family member, she would get a letter back telling her to plzzzz stay at home and eat all by herself, and invite the rest of the family to my house and tell them to come with what they can. Life is too short to invite misery (oh I meant Marney).

  33. Jessica says:

    I’m suprised she doesnt have an assigned crew for cleaning up.

    • Sup B says:

      Marney has probably written a second letter to be given to them when they least expect it. After the meal is done, the families start to relax because they think its over – they’ve survived. Then …..

      The Clean Up- This 2nd letter will have a detailed description of the distribution of any leftovers (& recipes to use them up). Anyone this anal would have to want a clean kitchen at all times I would imagine. Marney wouldn’t want those foreign dishes sitting around for her to sort our later. That would take up her precious time and cupboard space. She’d have people on washing dishes, others on wiping the table, one guy sweeping the floor.

      As the families are leaving, she’s already trying to schedule the next event. Deep down, she loves being this character for whatever reason.

  34. Sue says:

    I think she was at our family Christmas party. She was the one in the back making snide comments about the liquor in the over 21 gift exchange. Don’t we all have a Marney in our family?

  35. Charlotte says:

    I have to say, I LOVE THIS! Clearly Marney has a big family and always hosts Thanksgiving dinner. Anyone who has ever hosted such a big holiday in their home knows why some of these specific requests were made. You want to have to warm as few casseroles as possible due to oven space, oven size, timing etc. It’s hard to get that much food out at one time for all those people. The less coordination needed the day of, the better. And yes you need serving spoons because using regular spoons takes forever, makes a mess, and doesn’t look as nice. As for the recipes, if you have something that works- use it! We all have that one family member that thinks they have a ‘special secret recipe’ and in reality it’s terrible! Save the hassle of having something bad and having to make up something to replace the inedible dish by just knowing what is to be presented will be good! And as for the lids, yes, yes, yes! Leftovers? Snap on the lid and send it on it’s way. You don’t waste all of your tupperware because we all know it may be months, if ever at all, when you see those containers again! Nice work Marney, though you could have been just a little nicer about the turnips. It’s obvious M Byron’s family really like them!

    • mbelt says:

      It’s OK “Charlotte” we think you are well “organized”

    • Leslie says:

      If you don’t want to loan out your storage containers then ask people to bring their own or make due with ziplock bags or original containers. Telling people not to bring store brands,or dictating the brand of wine they should bring is ridiculous. How about, “Bring vanilla ice cream because that’s what children like most and whatever else you might enjoy.” (DONE) “Please bring wine that pairs well with Turkey.” (DONE) Dictating to people what kind of serving dish they should and should not bring???? Happy (most miserable ever) Thanksgiving EVER. I would show up to get trashed (on a better bottle of Chard than Clos du Bois) and watch Marnie sweat.

      • Terry says:

        Except some people will always bring crappy iced cream, and a big old box of rotten grape juice and be all “be grateful I brought anything bi-otch” all the while shovelling down the $100 turkey, then complaining it’s not dry enough, or there isn’t any turnip, or the cranberry sauce doesn’t have can ridges (I nearly cried on getting that one)… If you’d bring a better bottle of wine, obviously you wouldn’t be the one to get these kind of instructions. πŸ˜‰ I too kind of want to screw with her head, but I’ve been on her end of the “useless twats trying to help” problem too many times to really fault her for finally cracking. πŸ™‚

  36. imno6812 says:

    I think she is tired of cooking for everybody and/or of the people bringing whatever and nobody eats anything. She is hilarious though… and poor amy, she’d better read this. LOL…

  37. Roristix says:

    This definitely triggers my oppositional defiance. As a special touch, I’d want to be the first one to create a combination green bean and asparagus casserole with a cheese sauce, topped with the cheese-flavored french fried onions, brought in sixteen, small, disposable containers. Said containers would have lost lids and be covered in tin foil, with plastic soup spoons (definitely more than one) taped to the tin foil. In sharpie marker, on the tin foil, would be written- Please make sure you include such helpful instructions every year. I’m quite confident that, with your help, I can only improve on this year’s creation!

    • Heidi says:

      OMG…your comment made me laugh so hard I cried! Marney frightens me…I wanna go to YOUR house for Thanksgiving!

      • EH says:

        You are hysterical, and it is EXACTLY what I was thinking and would do! Of course, I would also bring my 2 containers of store brand frozen yogurt and rainbow sherbet to round out the meal!

  38. charli says:

    wow She really has tact .The way she asked The Michelle Bobble Family for that pie knife and made sure to tell that slacker Amy Misto not to bring pie knifes ….with the she is required to bring.

    Is this lady a crotchety old school teacher or what I think she gave me detention in the 90’s

  39. John says:

    How dare you Amy Mistro !

  40. Jaimie says:

    I am pretty sure I would not be attending this party… I think I would send ahead some scooped store brought ice cream, in a store brought metal pie tin, with some plastic spoons with a note written on a napkin that would be both witty and condescending… Or maybe I would just send her one of those myecards!!! Not awesome lady, not awesome!

  41. Jean says:

    I would so bring exactly the opposite of whatever she asked for. NOTE TO MIKE BYRON family – bring a huge roaster full of turnips.

  42. murphys says:

    Wow, I didn’t even know there was a “regulation casserole size”.

  43. Earlene says:

    Honestly I love this. Takes the guess work out of it and you don’t have to spend any time trying to figure out what you are going to bring, only to get there and find 5 people all brought green bean casserole.

  44. Carole says:

    Wow. What a control freak.

  45. joyce says:

    i think everyone should bring what he or she are able to.

  46. Maria says:

    This makes me actually love my in-laws!

  47. ROZE says:

    I am really amazed she didn’t include a cover charge for entering her home. Gotta laugh at it. After seeing the movie THE HELP another pie comes to mind!

  48. Miguel says:

    It seems like every family has one aunt like her. Just to let you know in my family we gave an aunt like this one and my parents just to piss her off just did everything backwards until years later my aunt understood. Hahahaha holidays.

  49. KittyGirl says:

    Bet it’s fun to hang out at her house! :-(~ I believe I’d send my regrets & adopt a new family.

  50. Wendy says:

    Priceless…really. My jaw dropped and then I couldn’t stop chuckling.

    Isn’t it always the person who claims to have a great sense of humor that are, in actuality, humorless? Marney is hostile and resentful and needs her meds readjusted. Hilarious!

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