Guide To Holiday Sports Cards Releases

November 19, 2021

As holidays come into focus, many holiday-themed releases are hitting the shelves. To prepare you for all the seasonal cheer of card collecting, we made this list of Holiday releases (and don’t worry — we checked it twice). We will be updating our guide to holiday sports cards releases as new products hit the shelves.

What Are Holiday Sports Cards Releases?

Holiday releases are a way of mixing up the traditional offerings. These releases are retail-oriented, designed as the proverbial stocking fillers.

The boxes of these releases look slightly different than regular, non-holiday editions. Nonetheless, most of the cards look the same.

That said, the holiday boxes have different inserts appropriate to the holiday theme. For example, Hoops Holiday boxes feature a “Rookie Sweater Card” with one rookie wearing an ugly Christmas sweater. In addition, they include a piece of memorabilia from one (or a bit of a fuzzy Santa hat).

Deandre Ayton is really pulling off that Santa hat (look for Ayton cards on eBay)

Another example is the Donruss Football holiday boxes. Over the last couple of years, each box has come with a red/green Optic Rated Rookie insert.

List Of Holiday Sports Cards Releases

While there’s usually not a published list of holiday releases, some consistent brands do holiday releases every year. So here’s what we can expect to see this year.

2021 Donruss Football Holiday

This product has already been released. It follows the same general pattern as previous iterations: 88 total cards, including one blaster-exclusive rookie holiday sweater card and a red/green Optic Rated Rookie. While the Optic is not guaranteed, I watched a few breaks, and they seem to be present in all of them.

The 2021 Donruss Football Holiday box doesn’t look that festive to us! (get them on eBay)

2020-21 Hoops Basketball Holiday

Thanks to all the delays in Panini’s release schedule, these boxes are coming pretty late, but they’ll be hitting shelves as an alternative to Hoops basketball. These boxes include either a rookie sweater memorabilia card or an autograph, but you might be on the collector’s naughty list if you prefer the sweater card. The rookie cards in this product look a bit different than the standard variation, too — they have snow specks on them.

2021 Topps Baseball Holiday

This product isn’t confirmed yet, but it’s an annual staple. Topps historically has released this product in mega and blaster forms. Generally, Topps goes above and beyond Panini when it comes to design. The cards have a holiday theme, with wreaths, mistletoe, and often snow appearing as part of the pattern.

The Topps Baseball Holiday release will likely repeat this year (get some holiday wax on eBay)

Check out details on the 2022 Topps Holiday Mega box

What Other Releases Will Be Infused With Seasonal Cheer?

It’s a great question, and since these seem to be surprise releases, there’s no telling if we’ll be seeing new editions to the holiday lineups but keep your eyes on the shelves as we near Christmas, and you might find a pleasant holiday surprise!

We will keep an eye out for any surprise releases and update this article as need be.

Guide To The Value Of Holiday Sports Cards Releases

With holiday releases hitting the shelves, should you invest in them? Should you rip them?

To get a better feel for the value, we’ll look at the history of these products compared to the regular, non-holiday edition.

Looking back at the sealed product, here’s the comparison.

Holiday Blaster (Avg. Comp Price) Traditional Blaster (Avg. Comp Price)
2018-19 Hoops ($180) 2018-19 Hoops ($200)
2020 Donruss Football ($45) 2020 Donruss Football ($58)
2019 Topps Baseball Mega ($57) 2019 Topps Baseball Mega ($75)
2020 Topps Baseball Mega ($34) 2020 Topps Baseball Mega ($40)

As you can see, the holiday versions hold similar values to their traditional counterparts. However, they tend to resell for around 10%-20% less. Therefore, if you see them around in retail, they could be worth picking up.

There are some absolute gems in the holiday releases (look for Ronald Acuna Jr. autos on eBay)

Bottomline Of The Guide To Holiday Sports Cards Releases

The verdict about the holiday releases comes down to a straightforward question. So, think long and hard about this. What would you truly prefer to own: a Joe Burrow rookie jersey card or a Joe Burrow rookie Christmas sweater card?

If you’re anything like most collectors, the Christmas sweater card feels like a cheesy gimmick at best. While this might be cynical, the holiday releases are more about Panini supplying a seasonal gift to their balance sheet than spreading seasonal cheer.

The one non-gimmicky insert is the red/green Optic Rated rookies. Yes, those are Christmas colors, but they also will age better because their relevance is ever-green (if you will forgive the pun).

The verdict is this: while the Holiday boxes might be a fun rip and could have some nice rookies and (non-seasonal) inserts, the traditional boxes will always fair better in the long run. That’s the reason all the resell comps are lower on Holiday blasters. But if you want to provide a fun seasonal rip for your favorite collector, these releases will do nicely.