The Christmas That Martians Attacked; Courtesy Of Our Loving Mother!


Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Yet, little did we know, us eight little kids, that on the morrow, Christmas day, the Martians would attack…courtesy of our loving mother.

I was only six when the Martians came to our home in a most unexpected way and time. The lights of the Christmas tree sparkled bright as my seven siblings and I raced early that Christmas morning to the beckoning sight of gifts and overflowing stockings. I was only six at the time, with my oldest brother being 15 and my littlest sister the tender age of 5.

As was the custom, we raced to our stockings that had been ‘hung with care’, in hopes of finding candy and other assorted treats.  Much to the surprise and delight of all of us kids, the stockings were filled with packs and packs of baseball cards. It was a dream for a little boy like me. Visions of Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays cards danced in my head.  But what should come as a wonderous surprise, was that the cards, packaged in long strands of cellophane, were not baseball cards at all. I didn’t know what they were, I had never seen anything like the cards that I was looking at.

“Mars Attacks is a science fiction trading card series released in 1962. The cards feature artwork…and tell the story of the invasion of Earth by cruel, hideous Martians…The cards depicted futuristic battle scenes and bizarre methods of Martian attack, torture and slaughter, as well as various Earth nations being attacked…The cards proved popular with children but their explicit gore…caused an outcry, leading the company to halt production.” (Wikipedia)

My mother had unknowingly stuffed our stockings with packs of cards that showed some pretty gruesome ways of dying.  However, as a young boy I was thrilled with the menacing cards and loved reading the storylines  found on the back.  And so, although I never opened a pack with a Micky Mantle, I did find some interesting cards like, “The Human Torch”, “Slaughter in the Suburbs”, and “High Voltage Execution.”

My mothers stocking stuffer that year has gained  infamy in the stories of our family heritage. And unfortunately, like most of my valuable baseball card collection, my Mars Attack cards collection from that year, also found their way to the garbage can. A pity, as they too have become very valuable. Yet, the most valuable thing I gained from those cards was the memory of a Christmas when Mars Attacked and of a mother who tried to do her best to give us a wonderful morning.

Those cards have become the “Art of Christmas Love” for me.  Whenever I see them,  I think of her. And when I think of her, I see her sitting there like an angel in her robe;outlined by the lights of the tree giving out gifts to us kids.  The look of joy on her face is etched in my mind.  She is the most beautiful person on earth. That’s a memory I cherish!



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