A Little Christmas Chaos and A Menorah

I had a little Christmas moment of panic last night. I’m sure you all have experienced it before. It happens when you look at the calendar and realize you are one week into December and nowhere near ready for the BIG EVENT of Christmas . The Department of Decorating and Visual Cheer is running way behind. The head of Purchasing and Material Wish Granting has apparently gone missing while the VP of  Domestic Duties is up in arms over the extra work caused by the crafting frenzy in the Department of Oh I Can Make That. Seriously! There needs to be a meeting between me, myself and I to pull this team together!


Christmas Decorating Chaos


Christmas Foliage


And then there’s Hanukkah…

I know nothing about Hanukkah. We’ve never celebrated Hanukkah. I’ve never been invited to a Hanukkah party… I don’t even know if there is such a thing as a Hanukkah party. I know there is a Menorah and 8 candles. Period. At this point you are probably wondering why Hanukkah is even on my radar then, right? Well, that’s kind of a funny story.

My husband and I were both adopted at birth. We took on the ‘heritage’ of our ‘adoptive parents’ which, from this point to eternity will simply be known as our ‘parents’ because that is what they are – 110%. We ARE our parents’ children and they ARE our Moms and Dads and we belong exactly where we are.

There are two ‘adoptee’ issues my husband and I have come across though. One is the lack of medical information. We have zero biological medical history which means our children have very limited medical history. The second issue deals with the question…what am I? At some point in school there is a project about your family heritage. My Mom is English and German. My Dad is Irish so I always did something along those lines. But as you get older, and especially when you have your own children, you start to wonder, what am I…really?

Several years ago I was scrolling through my Groupon offers for the week and there was a coupon for a DNA test through a company called Connect My DNA. Only $40 bucks! Why the heck not. We swabbed, mailed and eagerly waited. After several weeks we got an email. Our results were in! I have to admit, my palms were a bit sweaty as I pulled up our account. We were about to find out what we really were. What ethnicity possibly contributed to our physical build and characteristics. The screen could not pull up fast enough…and then there it was. According to Connect My DNA, my DNA was most like people from Syria and Peru and my husbands DNA was most like people from…Korea. Umm…hmmm. Okay?! Really? This is where I feel it necessary to provide a photo.


Me and My Hubby @ Jam on Hawthorne


Needless to say, the results of this test become a long running joke among our friends and family as it was fairly evident that there had been some mistake. I suppose that’s what one should expect for a $40 DNA test. Well, fast forward to Christmas 2016. My husband and I gifted each other the Ancestry.com DNA test. Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem being related to the fine people of Peru and Syria and my husband was certainly willing to embrace the Koreans as ‘his people’ but honestly…..really, it just didn’t seem probable.

So we spit, shipped and waited…again.

It was almost 12 weeks before we got our results and I found myself just as nervous as I waited for the graph to appear on the screen. My results: 28% Great Britain, 20% Scandinavia, 18% Italy, 16% Western Europe, 13% Ireland and less than 3% of two other categories. No Middle East and no South America. Alas, I was not Peruvian or Syrian. Actually, my genetic make-up is very similar to my parents.

Then it was my husbands turn and guess what? He is not Korean. Shocking I know but his results were none the less interesting. My husband is a bit Irish, English, Scandinavian, Western European…and 50% Eastern European Ashkenazi Jew.

And that is how Hanukkah came into the Butcher family holiday mix.

No, we have not joined a synagogue and we have no plans to remodel the kitchen to keep Kosher but we are trying to learn a little more about the various Jewish holidays and Hanukkah seemed like the best place to start. So, in the mix of putting up the Christmas tree, the Christmas lights and planning a Christmas Dinner for 14, I am shopping for a really cool, non-plastic, non-made-in-China Menorah.

Whatever you celebrate, here’s wishing you happy shopping, baking, singing, snuggling, decorating and loving.




  1. Veronica | 12th Dec 17

    Hey, Joelle! I’m having the same issues with my elf..or is it elven….teams here!
    I think the Irish contribution (and perhaps the Syrian) are still under-represented in those #s. Surely Jeff has a drop of….Korean….
    Peace, joy and, in the meantime….happy decorating! I’m off to add more poinsettias today. They fill the gaps so well.
    Love the early morning laugh, too.

    • JoElle | 15th Dec 17

      Thanks for reading Veronica. Thank goodness for pointsettias – I agree!

  2. Tania | 7th Dec 17

    Very interesting read JoElle and I loved seeing what you look like! Your picture on your blog was hard to tell!! Trust me… you are not THAT behind on your Christmas list… or maybe I AM that behind too!! lol!


    • JoElle | 7th Dec 17

      Thanks Tania. It’s not a great pic but I had trouble finding a recent one with my husband and I together – I’m usually the one behind the camera. Well, here’s hoping you and I both get caught up with our holiday to-dos in the very near future.

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