Yule log videos have become a holiday fad and a small, specific branch of the streaming culture. They are easier to assemble than an actual fire, they are more practical for residents or people living in warm climates, and they do not require cleaning. Finding one online is quick and easy, and they provide a warm color and festive tone for holiday celebrations. But since they are also easy to create and distribute, every streaming platform suddenly has its own fireplace videos.
And so it seems that every entertainment franchise works. There is an official frozen yule log, a couple of marvel logs, and branded yule logs for Hearthstone and Minecraft, Outlander and Shrek. Putting a franchise name and theme on a fireplace video is fun and play for large entertainment companies until you pause for a moment and think, “Wait, does that mean this Christmas log is canonical ?!”
Good question. Our analysis of franchise-specific Yule Log videos gives everyone the answer they urgently need.
(Ed. Note: This overview does not include Yule log videos from commercial sources such as Olive Garden or Jimmy Dean. While these videos reflect the capitalist Christmas season just as much as the Yule Logs with film and TV motifs, there is no established canon in most restaurants from which stories can be drawn. This list also does not include the Christmas holiday diaries dedicated to internet staples such as the late, lamented, well-known cat Lil Bub, or nebulous brand ties such as “Hallmark” or “Disney Parks” as they are not based on mythological narrative. (However, you should check out the Lil Bub Yule Log series, which includes a super-fraudulent summer beach video.)
Picture: Walt Disney Pictures
Arendelle Castle Yule Log (Disney Plus)
How long is it? A little over three hours, perfect for playing in the background during Family Game Night.
Christmas spirit? The Arendelle Castle Yule Log offers gifts, stockings carefully hung from the fire, and a small Christmas tree on the side. There are garlands and holly trees that contribute to a cozy holiday feeling. No Christmas music or cover from “Let it Go” playing, this is just a fireplace experience. Enjoy.
Does it fit the Canon? This is exactly the fireplace in front of which Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven play 2 charades in Frozen. Arendelle canonically celebrates a large number of winter holidays, as can be seen in the 21-minute short film “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure”. The Yule Log setting fits exactly into the world.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lb0eTSE22pM (/ embed)
How long is it? Hardly more than an hour.
Christmas spirit? Except for the crackling fire, nothing says “Christmas” about this Christmas protocol. However, BB-8 is a happy being so you may feel generally optimistic.
Does it fit the Canon? This comes closest to an official Star Wars Christmas protocol we are likely to get, but BB-8 seems to be a too small element to ground this video in the canon. Star Wars purists who want a more canonical experience are likely to do better with the unofficial Yule Log from Darth Vader’s Burning Body on YouTube. It takes five hours and fits the Canon very well. There’s also an unofficial Star Wars Christmas log that looks like it belongs on a ship. Thank you, internet creators looking for a few clicks.
A fireplace at home: Bright Edition (Netflix)
How long is it? A breath of over an hour.
Christmas spirit? If you call a coarse-grained, colorful, literal trash can Christmas cheer, then there is plenty in it.
Does it fit the Canon? Yes. The graffiti on the wall and the garbage can are elements that fit exactly into the dingy street world of Bright, the “cinematic embodiment of a broken, spitting sewage pipe”.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBi29OnappU (/ embed)
How long is it? A few seconds over an hour.
Christmas spirit? Cap’s apartment is pretty bare, but some jazzy Christmas standards play in the background to set the tone. It’s not as warm as the crowd’s chatter, but it’s still something.
Does it fit the Canon? More than some of the other Marvel Cinematic Universe Yule logs. The close-up view shows a framed picture of Peggy’s former love interest, which is heartwarming, if a little sad, because this whole fireside chat series appears to be playing in a comic book verse. Even if that’s not the case, this video is from 2016, so it’s a pre-Avengers: Endgame Steggy reunion.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHoOkDUrQw8 (/ embed)
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UE840lgu4Ew (/ embed)
How long is it? The first takes a little over two hours, the second almost exactly two hours.
Christmas spirit? The first has a Christmas fireplace in the background, with stockings, garlands and a tree. The centerpiece, however, is the Tardis snow globe, which has a small wreath on the inside. This one also has some nice orchestral music, original for the show. It’s not specifically Christmas, it feels very good to be Doctor Who.
The second is a fully decorated fireplace with stockings, a TARDIS garland, lights and a tree. There are fairy lights above and when the camera swings out, we see a plate of cookies. (Uh, cookies since this is a British video.) How cute! However, it is noteworthy that apparently leaves are falling out of the window and no snow is falling.
Does it fit the Canon? The first video shows some bizarre moments when doctors step out of the TARDIS snow globe, and there are ads for the Doctor Who Christmas special 2017, so it’s clearly not on the show.
The second, however, is clearer in the canon. The thirteenth doctor shows up a few times to warm her hands. At some point she sets off with the TARDIS and returns later to light the fire again. We don’t know where that is or what she’s doing, but considering that the whole doctor’s ticket is able to travel through time and space, this could work almost anywhere, anytime.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTkEIl3JOBM (/ embed)
Guardians’ Spaceship Fireside video in 4K
(and the close-up)
How long is it? Just over an hour.
Christmas spirit? The most Christmassy part of this video is the occasional music, a playlist of Christmas carol rock remixes that underscore the otherwise monotonous engine hum. Apart from that, the spaceship is free from any holiday joy.
When the music is playing you can see Baby Groot dancing. When Christmas is, Baby Groot is technically a kind of Christmas tree. However, there is no weather in space, so there is not even a seasonal undertone in this weather. The guards are largely off Earth and are unlikely to celebrate Christmas. Technically speaking, fire is not even fire, so the title itself is based on lies.
Does it fit the Canon? Probably not. Where’s that on the ship? Why does it happen? It’s not even space winter!
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etfRceOFTFc (/ embed)
How long is it? Exactly an hour.
Christmas spirit? So much cheering that it is almost gaudy – and yet the magic of Christmas is missing in the Harry Potter world, as the scene is full of muggle goods and buying links. It feels like the empty shell of Harry Potter magic. Instead of using the film or book images, only merch is used.
Does it fit the Canon? Who knows? Where should that take place? In which part of Hogwarts are there Muggle brands from all four houses? It’s absolutely outrageous that this video pretends to be canonical when it comes to an obvious capitalist robbery masquerading as Wizarding World Magic. No way would Hogwarts witches and wizards stand out for some PotteryBarn Teen products if they had magical counterparts.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp9C_0_JeYE (/ embed)
Hearthstone Murloc Yule Log
How long is it? A hair over 53 minutes, good as a background for the opening.
Christmas spirit? Not so much at first, but over time Murlocs appear on the screen and the fireplace becomes more and more decorated. At the end of the video it is a festively decorated scene. Every now and then Christmas music plays in the background – but sung by Murlocs.
Does it fit the Canon? It takes place in the tavern where Hearthstone is believed to take place. You can hear the sound of players. The decor is based on the motto of the world, as is the Murloc-sung music mentioned above. Overall, it’s a delightful addition to the Hearthstone canon.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1cy7PnhsEg (/ embed)
How long is it? Just over an hour.
Christmas spirit? Frankly, it’s a bit depressing. The apartment is elegant and minimalist, but there’s nothing like a holiday except for the fireplace. There are some vague electronic sounds and the occasional whir of a helicopter, but no Christmas music. There’s also a sad, empty pizza box on the side in close-up. Whatever Tony Stark has planned for Christmas seems to be a mega-downer.
Does it fit the Canon? Wouldn’t Tony Stark’s apartment be bigger?
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTfPgNqf5Ys (/ embed)
How long is it? Two hours, right in the middle of most of these Yule log videos. Not long enough to keep you entertained all day, but not too short to click “restart” too often.
Christmas spirit? So much! The fireplace is decorated, it is snowing outside, and there are plenty of gifts. So cozy, so quaint. It is a perfect Christmas experience. Every now and then some nice Christmas surprises appear on the screen.
Does it fit the Canon? Minecraft canon is ultimately what you make of it, so sure it could be canon. There may not be a real Santa NPC, but you may have a firm belief in what we mean when you download a Santa skin. At some point, someone breaks into the house and steals a gift. Isn’t Minecraft?
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tH4xwl9hI94 (/ embed)
How long is it? An hour and change.
How Much Christmas Joy? Not much, but that’s fine because Kamala Khan doesn’t celebrate Christmas. It’s a warm fireplace in the cold winter of New Jersey and a good time to soak up the non-denominational warmth. We hear the chatter of a party that in and of itself brings a little holiday joy.
Does it fit the Canon? There is nothing to suggest that this is the canon, but nothing to suggest that this is not the case. A sweet little attention is Kamala’s costume over her couch – better hide it before anyone sees it!
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCevjyYbEPU (/ embed)
How long is it? An hour plus a few seconds.
Christmas spirit? It’s literally just a burning protocol that there’s nothing festive about – other than the singing of the cast of the Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Does it fit the Canon? Yes. No further questions, your honor.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ue7subSMPVY (/ embed)
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7S8It-zl63s (/ embed)
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTGWm3HbBbI (/ embed)
How long is it? Both the Christmas versions 2019 and 2014 last about an hour. The 2019 kitchen takes about 90 minutes.
Christmas spirit? More subtle decor in these, matching the historical piece. Two of them contain animals that appear on the show, which is not specifically Christmas, but very cheerful. Two of them play the main theme song, which actually sounds quite Christmassy, as sad as “O Holy Night” does. It will then switch to general festive Celtic sounding music.
The kitchen is an exception, with just a crackling fireplace and minimal festive decor.
Does it fit the Canon? Including the cat in the latest video is a nice touch to relink these fireplace videos with Canon. The newer video has the little kitten Adso, which was introduced by Outlander in the last season. The five years ago has two dogs that actually have no canonical bonds, but they are really cute! Overall, they fit the show in style, and that’s good enough.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FA14ZGIKOQ (/ embed)
How long is it? Almost eight and a half hours! Perfect for a full day of festive activities! Just throw it in the background while wrapping gifts, decorating trees, and baking cookies!
Christmas spirit? The scene is festively decorated, but there’s also a striking loot box that opens a few times and reveals some toys. It’s more corporate than the other Yule Logs, but what is Christmas these days as a corporate celebration of materialism? At the very least, it’s fairly open about what it is and doesn’t try to disguise itself as something in the universe.
Does it fit the Canon? No, it’s not even animated. Overwatch lead designer Jeff Kaplan and some Overwatch VAs take a seat occasionally. It’s nice to stare at Matthew Mercer, McCree’s voice actor, for an hour and a half, but that doesn’t add a dimension to the world of Overwatch.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7PHopQVgJ0 (/ embed)
Shrek Yule Log
How long is it? A little less than 30 minutes, so you may need to press the repeat button several times.
Christmas spirit? The stove itself is decorated with garlands. Some moody melodies are playing in the background. You can hear chattering children and guests. What is really missing, however, is the sound of the fire getting lost among the Shrek characters that occasionally roam the screen.
Does it fit the Canon? The short spin-off special Shrek the Halls found that Christmas exists in the Shrek universe, and the short that this Christmas protocol was originally paired with Donkey’s Christmas Shrektacular continues this trend. We immediately see where we are – Shrek’s harbor at the swamp – and where this scene fits: Shrek lights the fire before he and Fiona have guests for the holidays. We are in the Shrek universe and spend time with Shrek and his family. A perfect watch if you are looking for the warm familiarity of the family but only have YouTube.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AN8ZpnylcFM (/ embed)
How long is it? Even a little less than 30 minutes, like the Shrek Yule Log, you have to press the repeat button. Or play them in a row!
Christmas spirit? The “Snoggletog Log” is just a window to fantasy Christmas in the world of How to Train Your Dragon, down to the decorations and the cheerful Christmas music in the background. As with the Shrek video, many of the actual fire sounds are lost amid the background music and characters roaming the screen.
Does it fit the Canon? Yup! Much like the Shrek was a companion to Donkeys Christmas Shrektacular, the Snoggletog Log is a companion to How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming, which premiered on NBC earlier this month. The short film takes place after the events of the final film How to Train Your Dragon, which deals with the consequences of the trilogy. Hiccup and Astrid have children, Toothless and Light Fury too, and they all appear here. It fits exactly in the Canon.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hadPdcXBj94 (/ embed)
How long is it? About an hour.
Christmas spirit? Once again, nothing really screams about Christmas. Not even the music. There is no music. It sounds vague like a group of original monsters screaming into the abyss of space. Seriously, it’s kind of scary. If you want a portion of Eldritch horror at Christmas, play the Thor fireplace video. Every now and then there is an uncanny green light.
Does it fit the Canon? For sure! Perhaps Thor has a room full of Celtic symbolism and horror movie noises in Asgard, and here he keeps his large fireplace and his vaguely festive wolf skin carpet. It’s not as directly related to Canon as some of the videos on this list, but it’s not that conspicuously wrong.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkdImL3wsY4 (/ embed)
“Toy Story Inspired” D23 Days of Christmas Yule Log
How long is it? A second an hour ago, another good background for the opening.
Christmas spirit? Pile of gifts rest under a well-decorated tree. Since it is “Toy Story Inspired”, the camera rests at the toy level and offers a unique perspective. Really emphasizes the gifts that can increase anticipation or cause impatient children.
Does it fit the Canon? The Toy Story characters appear, but do nothing other than run and wave on the screen. At this point it is a canonical mess. For example, Toy Story 3 villain Lotso, who we last saw strapped to a garbage truck, shows up at 10:16 a.m. He waves happily as if he weren’t the shameful, murderous antagonist of an entire film. Maybe there are some questions for young children wondering why he’s so happy when the rest of the toys are rushing for their lives – did Lotso catch them in this Christmas hell landscape ?!
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9N9L4hFYFE (/ embed)
How long is it? About an hour.
Christmas spirit? The absolutely adorable Unikitty curls up around the fire. A modest number of gifts complement the realistic, tasteful decor. Some relaxing piano music – it’s not special Christmas carols, but it still sounds like winter – sounds in the background, but you can still hear the crackle of the tree trunk. Overall happy in a quirky way.
Does it fit the Canon? There is nothing to suggest that Unikitty would not curl up on a fire and snore moons, stars and the letter “Z”. We love that for them.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCq6LD3Lh4w (/ embed)
How long is it? 10 hours, but it just seems to be a 10-second loop of animated poison that bounces easily and drinks hot cocoa. (Disclaimer: We didn’t watch every 10 hours. Maybe he’ll do something complicated and exciting in seven hours.)
Christmas spirit? Animated Venom sits next to a cozy fireplace, under a portrait of Venom in a chic, rich silk jacket. None of this says Christmas, but it says massive applause.
Does it fit the Canon? Absolutely not, but it rules.