12 Virtual Yule Logs for Every Decor Style, Vibe, and Mood

updated Dec 16, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

Nothing adds holiday cheer like a festive fire in the fireplace. Tending to a yule log is one of the oldest holiday decorating traditions: For centuries, people kept Yule logs burning throughout Christmas Day and into the new year. The practice likely goes back to even older midwinter celebrations. Need another reason to sit back and enjoy? Yule logs traditionally bring good luck for the year ahead. 

Don’t have a fireplace, or just don’t want to keep it lit? This is your annual reminder that virtual fires also add instant winter magic. To find the best fires for every style, I spent a rainy afternoon watching every virtual fire I could find. Whether you’re looking to “light” a Yule log that matches your decor, want to transport yourself to the winter wonderland of your dreams, or simply want a laugh, there’s an option sure to brighten your night. Here are my top picks for the Yule log that’s right for you.

1. Coastal Casual

If you love millennial pink and/or vacations, this eight-hour beach bonfire from Visit Florida is for you. The subtle roar of ocean waves backs crackling flames that sound like they’re right there warming your toes. Another benefit? The blush pink sand is so gorgeous, it may take you a while to notice that sunset is lasting slightly longer than expected. 

2. Grandmillenial Realness

Hold the reminiscing about building real fires “back in my day.” Traditional Yuletide flames first leapt from hearths onto newfangled TV screens decades ago: In 1966, WPIX in New York began playing the first-ever televised Yule log with carols accompanying the fire. Their log has warmed New York City apartments ever since. Since nothing beats the original, here is their version. Their log has a two-hour run time with no ads, plus lots of friendly nostalgia in the comments. Runner up: The 1974 Dr. Demento Christmas Yule Log is the grandfather of every log spoof ever made. 

3. Classic Birch

Nothing says hygge like logs crackling in the fireplace. For a traditional fire, my top pick is the satisfyingly symmetrical 4K “Crackling Birchwood” on Netflix. It has a relatively short run time, so if you want an eternal flame, switch over to this HD looping fireplace on Youtube, which is ad-free and runs for ten hours. 

4. Cozy Neutrals

If your holidays this year revolve around staying in and cuddling up with a warm blanket, you may be in the mood for a new winter wind-down routine. Here’s a virtual log you can watch until the embers burn down as part of your new bedtime ritual. You can’t get much cozier than that! 

5. Pawfectly Appointed

Allow me to introduce Lil Bub, who will purr at you for an hour from his spot by an enviably sleek hearth. For more animal friends, the ASPCA brings us the worst log with the best kittens, and this sheepdog puppy is also delightful. If you are somehow neither a cat nor a dog person, here’s an indoor squirrel montage that will serve as a Rorschach test for your cute/creepy radar. I’m sorry/you’re welcome?

6. Maximalist Kitch

Didn’t get around to decorating? If you celebrate Christmas, you can tune in to the decor of your dreams with fireplaces surrounded by lights, stockings, and 20-foot trees. (Hat tip to anyone who takes the time to superimpose their hearth on an HGTV living room.) This version puts you close to the mantle and has a six-hour run time. 

7. Warm Industrial

Want an industrial fire to match your industrial loft? First prize goes to these actual fire experiments filmed by Atlas Obscura in the Missoula Fire Sciences lab. This holiday “log” features orchestral carols and the science of flames. The runtime is only about 20 minutes, so science lovers can follow it up with the PBS log, which gives you four hours of ASMR-level crackles and the chemical compounds found in everything from snowmen to candy canes.

8. Cozying Up with Celebrities 

If your idea of holiday decor is rustic and incomplete without a full-stack breakfast, welcome to the alternate reality in which Ron Swanson actually… likes… Christmas? Or at least he likes nature. Here is  ten hours of “Parks and Recreation” actor Nick Offerman sipping Lagavulen and staring. Friends, his video doesn’t loop. 

If you are here for the niche celebrities, “Outlander” fans will appreciate highlanders Jamie and Duncan drinking scotch by this Men in Kilts hearth. On that note, fans of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” may enjoy five hours of Peter Kavinsky in a hot tub (but I digress). 

9. Van Life Envy

Dream of the van life but not the commitment or the lack of square-footage? A Tiny House life may or may not be for you, but this campfire in the snow sure is. Watching this cold night get colder after the sun went down gave me a glow of schadenfreude that warmed my cold little heart.

10. Princess Vibes

Did you dream of living in a castle when you grew up? Are you still letting it go? As a consolation prize, Disney+ gave us the hearth directly from Arendelle—that’s the magical kingdom from “Frozen,” where they know a thing or two about not letting the cold bother them.

11. Holiday Fanfare

If you splurge on collectibles and stan a fandom, you may appreciate these modern classics: the Darth Vader Yule, a Joe Pesci blowtorch Yule (“Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals!”), and this cheerfully crackling Eye of Sauron. Gandalf looks a lot like Santa and Darth Vader is definitely on the naughty list, so remember: any movie can be a holiday movie if you just believe. 

12. What 2020 Actually Looked Like

However you dress it up, 2020 was a dumpster fire. To end it right, please enjoy this virtual dumpster fire from ad agency AM/FM. Stylistically, these flames pair well with “before” pictures and burning it all down. Happy 2021!