Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.


Navigate / search

How to Share the Wishbone: A Thanksgiving Tradition

Holiday traditions are the special moments that truly bond families, even if they also stir up an argument.  With another Thanksgiving come and gone, you may have dealt with one tiff that plagues families on Thanksgiving. The wishbone tradition.


Now, you may think I’m late on this post, but in my house, we wait for the wishbone to be dry and brittle enough to easily crack. Plus, the greasy fingers excuse is off the table. Anyways, I’ll admit it, I am borderline crazy when it comes to superstitions. You better believe I handle mirrors extra carefully to ensure that I don’t shatter a mirror that will also shatter my life’s prosperity for the next seven years. I also make a wish after every eyelash, birthday candle, and shooting star (even if they are only airplanes flying past in the night-sky…it’s all about perspective!). Therefore, I understand that the wishbone is a special case. It comes around once a year and there is only one of them to be fought for amongst the family.

Traditions are meant to be fun and bring family closer together, so how do you mediate the situation when there’s more than two kiddos vying for the wishbone? Or, say there isn’t an argument about who gets to participate in the wishbone tradition, but you have to deal with the tantrum that comes afterward when someone gets the short-end of the stick bone?

Here are some tips in dealing with the wishbone tradition that could break the family harmony on Thanksgiving (pun intended!):

  The wishbone tends to snap on the side that looks weaker. So, if you are up against your little one, it’s time to let the competitive side go and allow for an easy win for your kiddie.

  If there are only two little ones vying for the wishbone wish, talk to them beforehand to remind them that it is just a silly tradition, and that even when one of them inevitably loses, it’s important to be a good sport. There is always next year.

  To piggyback off that, this is a great opportunity to teach and/or reinforce the importance of sharing.

  Or, if the tough love strategy isn’t up your alley, tell them they can still make a wish with their wishbone piece. After all, the wishbone does have a little bit of magic to allow for wishes to be had!

  What if there are more than two vying for the wishbone? If you have a large family, it’s time to set-up a cycle. Unfortunately, that means not everyone can participate, but it will help to know that the child left out gets to go next year.

  With that said, for any child who has to wait their turn, give them an important job that will satisfy their need to be included. Whether it’s referee or the one who gets the first piece of pie, they will feel special.

  However, I think my favorite remedy to the wishbone dilemma is this: Make chocolate wishbones so that everyone can participate! 1. Everyone gets to play. 2. Chocolate is delicious. And 3. Refer to number 2.

Here’s what you need to do to create chocolate wishbones:

  Melt down chocolate, whether it’s over the stove (place a bowl over simmering water to melt it without burning the chocolate) or in the microwave (heat the chocolate in increments, stirring in between so it doesn’t burn).
  Grab a baking pan and line it with wax paper. The pan isn’t essential but it does allow for a flat surface that you can easily move while the chocolate is cooling.
  Then, use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate on the wax paper, creating the wishbone shape. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, use a toothpick to shape the edges and cut off any rogue drizzles. It will dry and easily crack off.
  Allow the chocolate to cool completely before pulling the “wishbones” off the wax paper.
  Store in a cool place, especially during the Thanksgiving preparations when the oven also serves as a heater.
  Then, bust them out after dinner for an even sweeter take on the wishbone tradition. What’s more, there’s multiple, so everyone wins!

Do you and your family partake in the wishbone tradition? How do you manage it?