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Outlander Yule Log 2015. Photo: J. Waits

Reviewing the 2015 Yule Logs: They’ve Gone to the Dogs

A year ago I rhapsodized about my love of televised yule logs and gave my report on some of the examples that aired during the 2014 Christmas holiday. Well, Christmas 2015 also brought with it many opportunities to view yule logs on TV and I ended up catching a few that I’d never seen before. Now that I finally have better access to on-demand viewing, I also could have sampled many more yule logs (there are even on-demand yule logs with no music soundtrack so that you can enjoy the simplicity of the crackling fire sounds). Instead, I stuck with the ones that aired over live television or could be recorded on my DVR. Here’s a quick look at what 2015 had to offer:

Outlander Yule Log

I recorded this 16 minute yule log on Christmas morning on Starz HD. The show description promised, “The Fraser family home in Lallybroch is the scene of a roaring Scottish hearth and traditional holiday music.” The unusual thing about this yule log showing is that it depicts a wider view of a fire, with two dogs sleeping on a large rug in front of it. Occasionally the dogs wake up and adjust positions, while Scottish-sounding music plays. At one point the large dog walks off, leaving the little one alone in front of the fire. A longer version of the video can be seen here. The yule log was used as promotion for the Outlander series marathon that aired on Christmas.

Outlander Yule Log 2015. Photo: J. Waits

Outlander Yule Log 2015. Photo: J. Waits

SEC Yule Log

This 4-hour yule log presentation aired on the SEC ESPN Network (the “official” network of the Southeastern Conference, which airs a multitude of college sports) beginning at 3am Christmas morning. A tight close up of a burning log was accompanied by crackling fire sounds in addition to a cheesy soundtrack made up of Christmas music and fight songs. If this were a radio station, listeners would point out that the transitions between the Christmas music and the fight songs were often quite clunky, making for sort of a chaotic listen. Many of the Christmas pieces were hokey country-ish versions of classic songs. Adding to the mood, sports scores scrolled across the bottom of the screen throughout the presentation. Visually, it’s a boring scene without much change in the logs of the fire. It doesn’t look like anything is actually burning.

SEC Yule Log 2015. Photo: J. Waits

SEC Yule Log 2015. Photo: J. Waits

A Very Happy Yule Log

Recorded on Christmas Eve beginning at 2pm, this 3-hour yule log was presented by the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries channel. Like the Outlander yule log, this one also depicts a larger scene in front of a roaring fireplace. A cat and a dog lounge about on cushions and a Christmas tree, presents, and a heavily decorated fireplace mantle are shown (complete with stockings). From time to time we see different shots, including a close up of presents and another of poinsettias. There are several jumps between scenes and there are even dog and cat-free portions. The dog and cat wander off and watching their antics is more interesting than the fire, which was probably edited in. Atop the screen, the message “Merry Christams from Happy the Cat and Happy the Dog. HappyisHappy.com” appears occasionally. Familiar Christmas songs make up the soundtrack, including Christmas carols as well as rock and pop oldies like “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” The Hallmark Channel actually has several versions of the yule log, including a Thanksgiving one with different decor and a cat-only version. Here’s a link to the Christmas yule log that I watched.

Hallmark Channel's Yule Log 2015. Photo: J. Waits

Hallmark Channel’s Yule Log 2015. Photo: J. Waits

Plus Some Old Favorites

I also viewed several yule log presentations that I had seen previously, including Disney XD’s animated yule log and two yule logs on San Francisco Bay Area stations KRON and KOFY. Once again, my favorite is the one aired by KOFY. The logs in the fire actually burn, the music is tolerable, making for a very enjoyable experience as a viewer. How about you, did you run across any good yule logs over the Christmas holidays?


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