Wednesday, December 18, 2019

12 Days of Christmas Day 6 - Christmas cards

My wife just finished assembling and mailing our Christmas cards, and it got me thinking about all of the cards I've received for Christmas over the years.

In my second-ever post on this blog I mentioned two cards that my mom picked out for me at the old LCS - both from the 1956 Topps set:

They were not graded at the time (I don't think PSA existed when she bought these.)

Mom had a good relationship with the owner of the shop. Both of them knew what I collected and while his prices weren't the best, he was always fair and honest with her. 

Whenever I saw a single card that I really wanted, I would add it to my Christmas list and write "Harvey has it." Sometimes it would end up under my tree, in a super thick screw-down holder. Sometimes I'd find it in my stocking at 3 a.m., mixed in with a plastic candy cane full of M & M's, a chocolate orange, and a few packs of new cards. 

One such card was a Karl Malone Fleer RC:

I'm mad at myself for not holding on to this one, not just because I'm back into collecting basketball cards but because it was a gift from Mom. 

As I've gotten older and my time with her runs low, I've learned to appreciate all that she's done for me. It must have been difficult being a single mom with little income raising a sports-obsessed boy with an endless wantlist. Writing these posts reminds me of all the big and little purchases she made over the years, from factory sets... hobby boxes:

Of course I opened all of the boxes and sets immediately. Most of them were retained or replaced, with one exception being the 1990-91 Topps hockey set. I might not have all of the cards but I have great memories of opening and sorting them on the living room coffee table.

One gift from Mom that I don't regret selling came from one of the last stocking stuffers I got before moving to New Jersey, a box of 2003 Finest Football:

I pulled the Carson Palmer RC and listed it on eBay a short time later. I think it sold for $125-150. 

I've received so many sports card gifts from Mom that I can't possibly remember them all. But she wasn't the only one who bought packs or boxes for me...

Sometime around 1997 or 1998 my brother and his family gave me a long box that looked like it could be clothes.. but it was an assortment of packs from all sports plus a handful of 9-pocket pages. I had so much fun ripping open all the packs and storing them in the pages as randomly as possible. It was such a fascinating mix of 1990 Topps and 1995 Fleer baseball, Stadium Club and Skybox basketball, Topps and Upper Deck football. There were some shiny inserts with funky '90s designs and bland base cards, and for that day I went against all my organizational instincts and embraced the chaos. 

not the same assortment, but as close as I could find

Two years ago my daughter managed to find a repack of Mets cards at her school's holiday shop. I wrote a post about it at the time (apparently I've used this title already) and it made me so proud and happy that she would think to buy me sports cards. I was reminded of those cards twice recently - once when pulling the J.J. Putz to send Dennis as part of a Christmas gift, and again when Nick mentioned the Wrigley Field backdrop on a Donruss Team Heroes card.

It was tough to part with the Putz, but I've got eleven other cards from that blister pack to treasure - along with a Teuvo Teravainen Fleer Ultra RC pulled from a pack my daughter selected for me at Target two years earlier.

I'll have at least one more post in this 12DOC series covering new cards I've acquired this holiday season. 

What's your most memorable sports card Christmas gift? 

Thanks for reading!



  1. I was pretty stoked to get the 1990 Score (Baseball) factory set back in the day. It was huge and contained that awesome Bo Jackson football/baseball card.

  2. I've developed a tradition of sorts of getting a box of Bowman's Best each year for Christmas. The release is always right before the holidays.

  3. I've had several memorable card gifts on Christmas, although nothing that can compare to your mom's buying. Sheesh. Last year my daughter hopped on my blog, found my want list and bought card #1 off of it, the 1973 Topps Ruth-Aaron-Mays card. Pretty good for a college kid.

  4. My memory kinda sucks. My parents purchased me a 1981 Fleer baseball set while on a trip to Seattle. I feel like there's a chance that was an early Christmas present, but it could have been for my birthday.

    Outside of tons of blogger Christmas gifts, I can't really remember any specific incidents of me receiving cards. I know that I definitely received a few of those sports card lockers from Sears back in the 80's... and tons of packs in my stockings. But don't remember the details.

  5. I never asked for cards when I was young, so I never got any for Christmas. I did get a Pete Maravich rookie for Christmas from my mom about seven or eight years ago though, it was very unexpected, but very much appreciated.