When Mom was alive we would all try to be the first to call and say “Christmas Cheer” before the person on the other end of the line would say those same words. It was a competition, a family tradition. I’m not sure where it started but it is fast in all our Christmas customs.

We expanded it to be the required phrase to say during other holidays: “Easter Cheer,” even “Fourth of July Cheer!” “Camping Cheer!” It became nonsensical. Silly. But I’ll miss calling Mom this morning and racing her to the line. Instead, I’ll turn my head toward heaven and call out the musical phrase. “Christmas Cheer, Mom.”

“Heaven Cheer” up there to you sweet Mother!”