The Turkey Bone Sleigh

My husband’s family has a running joke at Thanksgiving. During clean up whoever is hosting Christmas is always asked if they want the turkey carcass to make a festive Christmas Sleigh out of. It had become a running joke something of family lore.

The idea seems to have been born in the late 60s to early 70s, if you know more specific details feel free to share. It was something that thrifty savvy housewives did. I guess it was a popular place to store the Christmas cards you received.

So this year at Thanksgiving my husband shrugged and said, “Lets do this.”

Step one involves cleaning and blanching your turkey carcass- we overdid it at the inlaws and ended up with a pile of bones….that wasn’t going to work. Good thing I knew where I could find some volunteers the next day to help us make this happen.

turkey carcass sleigh


That is volunteer brother number one carefully blanching turkey bones.

turkey carcass sleighVolunteer brother number two cleaning more off by hand. Aren’t they great? Seriously I was not up for this part of the project. There is a video of them narrating the process, you can see me in the back with a glass of wine cheering them on. (Yes this is pretty normal for a family holiday when we get together)

Tips for Making Your Turkey Carcass Sleigh

Oh yeah I have tips for you. So next year you can make your own, I’m sure you’re already making plans. Make sure your bones get really clean, and have some open air to dry in. We had pulled out some smaller bones for extra decoration (why not) and left them in a plastic bag while we waited for some time to decorate. They grew mold. Like this project wasn’t gross enough- I tossed them.

Now I (shockingly) wasn’t originally planning on blogging this so I’m missing some pictures in here.ย  I layered on some silver spray paint. I’ve seen them in silver, gold, and red choose your favorite to match your seasonal decor.

Since the family demanded a blog post here are some pictures of the bedazzling process. I went to Michaels and picked up some clearance glitter and Christmas bedazzling supplies.

turkey bone sleighWe put a layer of glue down and glittered the entire inside of the sleigh.

turkey bone sleighThat is my husband hot gluing the wishbone in to use as a handle. And in case you ever wondered how to get the men in your life more interested in crafting- turkey carcass.

turkey bone sleighMy sister adding some glitter glue to the rib area. This was truly a family affair.

turkey sleighMy brothers had specifically saved this crazy looking bone, no I don’t know what that is. As things started to shape up I thought of those figureheads you see carved in the front of boats. And so our dragon figurehead was born for the sleigh. Those glitter leaves are its wings.

Ready? Here it is on the Christmas table. It celebrated Christmas with both the Inlaws and my family. Everyone loves a turkey bone sleigh as it turns out.

turkey sleighturkey sleighturkey carcass sleighturkey sleigh

Our sleigh has been mostly stored when it wasn’t staring on the table. It would not have held up to a curious toddler or cat.

Have you ever recreated a crazy family tradition? What is your weirdest holiday decoration?

Happy New Year,

Rachel and Donna

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Andrea @ Mouse in My Pocket December 30, 2012, 3:53 pm

    That is awesome! We don’t have any cool traditions like that, but it might be one to start.

    • onceuponasewingmachine December 30, 2012, 4:24 pm

      It was worth the work for the laughs!

  • Abby December 30, 2012, 5:14 pm

    Love this! Truly a team effort…a perfect way to encourage a little holiday togetherness ๐Ÿ™‚

    • onceuponasewingmachine December 30, 2012, 9:33 pm

      so true!

    • Suzie January 9, 2013, 11:21 pm

      I never would never have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes…!!!! It’s actually really cute!

      • onceuponasewingmachine January 9, 2013, 11:27 pm

        We had to search the internet for images when it was first suggested to us to! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Amy mayen December 30, 2012, 5:16 pm

    Only you would actually attempt something so nuts, get everyone involved, and turn out successful. I love this blog post- I’m so glad it made it! Hurray for your family for making you post it. Good job everyone!

    • onceuponasewingmachine December 30, 2012, 9:33 pm

      Oh they weren’t hard to get involved ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Cindy December 31, 2012, 2:12 pm

    While I don’t think I’ll ever make a turkey carcass sleigh, I have to admire all the creativity and family participation that went into the making of this one!

    • onceuponasewingmachine December 31, 2012, 5:07 pm

      I once said the phrase “I donโ€™t think Iโ€™ll ever make a turkey carcass sleigh”. No it was truly a silly undertaking- can’t say I see more in the future.

  • Matt December 31, 2012, 2:29 pm

    In my family, this sort of insane group effort is called “fun.” Seriously though, we had a great time, an d I was more than happy to volunteer my non-squeamish self for any amount of blanching/bone-cleaning. And for a project that was embraced for its sheer silliness, the end result was decidedly impressive.

    • onceuponasewingmachine December 31, 2012, 5:07 pm

      Your contribution was crucial and greatly appreciated!

  • Cindy January 5, 2013, 10:00 am

    OMG…that is priceless!!!! Good for you guys!!!

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