8 Streaming Yule Logs

YouTube // BenjaminApple
YouTube // BenjaminApple / YouTube // BenjaminApple

The televised "Yule Log" became a tradition in 1966, when WPIX-New York aired film of a crackling fire. The goal was to give New Yorkers without fireplaces a halfway decent simulation of one on TV. Fast-forward 49 years, and the best Yule Logs are streaming online. Pick your favorite, make it full-screen, and enjoy.

(Technical note: Some of these videos use YouTube's "annotations" feature to pop up ads and junk during the otherwise nice footage of fireplaces. If you're viewing on a device that lets you turn off annotations, do it. On a typical browser, you click the "gear" icon, then click "OFF" next to "Annotations.")

1. Darth Vader Yule Log (Five Hours)

Contains a spoiler from the original trilogy, I guess. Five hours on the pyre. Crosses the line between festive and bizarre, but if you're looking to brighten up your Dark Side, this is probably what you're watching anyway.

2. Crackling and Popping (One Hour)

Lovely, simple Yule Log. Around 13 minutes in, new wood is added.

3. High Frame Rate Yule Log (Two and a Half Hours)

Shot at 50 frames per second—roughly double the rate of normal film—this looks almost too real for me. But if you liked the recent Hobbit movies, you'll dig this.

4. WPIX 1983 Yule Log (Eight Minutes)

A 1983 broadcast from WPIX, where it all started. Includes music! Note at the beginning narration, they simulcast stereo audio on an FM station (you won't be able to tune into that now, sorry).

5. Yule Owl (40 Minutes)

Hootsuite put "Snoopy" the owl on a perch in front of a fire. Snoopy is fun to watch, and almost as soothing as the fire by itself. Watch for slow blinks and winks.

6. Lil Bub (One Hour)

A purring, snoring cat with her tongue sticking out, in front of a roaring fire. Does it get any better? Not really. Behold!

(Note: There's another one of these from 2014, though it's not quite as nice. The Lil Bub Summertime Yule Log video is a hoot.)

7. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Blu-ray

Netflix has a "Fireplace for Your Home" yule log, which, oddly enough, is set up as three "episodes" in a TV season (some have music, some don't). If you turn on the closed captions, you get this helpful note: "[CRACKLING]." Amazon Prime Instant Video has the same thing (be sure to check out the related videos).

If you're a crazy person like me, there's a Blu-ray yule log shot using a RED camera. I own this. It's great.

8. Bonus: Animated/Non-Traditional "Yule Logs"

Yule Log 2.015 is a site featuring animated loops that are Yule Log-esque, but mostly don't feature actual fires. Enjoy at your own risk. (My favorite is the LEGO Yule Log.)