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Why are Yule Logs scary this year?

Why are Yule Logs scary this year?


The holiday vibes this year are leaning toward creepy instead of cozy.

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Closeup of a fire
A nice, peaceful fire.
Photo by Sebastian Gollnow / picture alliance via Getty Images

People who make Yule Log videos — are you okay? I’m worried about you. The standard flame-filled videos of holiday cheer seem a lot darker lately, and while I would love to know why, I’m also just generally concerned for your mental well-being.

My first sign that something was wrong was The Witcher: Fireplace on Netflix, which technically came out last year but is understandably getting re-promoted now. It’s got a nice-looking fire crackling away in the Great Hall at Kaer Morhen, but the lightly ominous music lurking in the background killed “the perfect backdrop for a cozy vibe” that Netflix promised.

Then Yellowjackets got in the game on Wednesday with a Yule Log that kept the logs but seems to have missed the Yule. It’s just two hours of creepy vibes and freaky Easter eggs.

I thought I might be imagining things, but SyFy also released a Chucky Yule Log this week. Compared to Yellowjackets, it’s tame, but it’s still Chucky. Something is definitely up this year — apparently, Adult Swim even had a Yule Log-themed horror movie? No way in hell I’m watching that, thank you.

Admittedly, I might be a Yule Log purist. While they’re not exactly scary, weird Yule Logs have been around for a while, and I’ve had ambivalent feelings toward them, too. I don’t particularly want to watch Darth Vader’s suit burn for eight hours, and having Olaf scamper across Disney’s Arendelle castle yule log scene is enough to make me feel a little stabby. Nick Offerman’s 45-minute scotch commercial just makes me want whisky.

Bring on the flames.

So even if I give the creepy Yule Log’s the side-eye, if a scary fireplace brings you some sadistic sense of joy, or helps you cope with the feeling of forced holiday cheer that seems to permeate everything this time of year, then hey, okay, I get it. Sometimes we just want our art to reflect the world, and 2022 hasn’t been universally great. For a lot of people, it’s been pretty shitty. If it helps you get by to have ominous whispers coming out of the speakers while a desolate winter scene hovers on the screen, go for it. You do you.

Personally, I turn on a Yule Log because I want an escape from <waves hands> all this. I don’t have a fireplace in my NYC apartment, so I turn on one of the “Fireplace For Your Home” videos on Netflix while I wrestle gifts into wrapping paper. I’m exactly the kind of person that programmers had in mind when WPIX started the TV Yule Log tradition by broadcasting a three-hour loop of a fireplace in 1966.

I know it’s basic, but the most exciting thing I want to decide if I want the classic or Birch versions. Bring on the flames. I’ll save the scares for another season.