All that’s missing are the 3D marshmallows.
Thanks to a couple of unlikely elves — digital technology and the giant cable TV companies — we can all pull up a chair at home this month and bask in the comforting flicker of the traditional Yule Log.
What’s that you say? You’ve got no fireplace? No problem!
This is a televised, virtual Yule Log that’s available through Jan. 2 as free Video on Demand on six cable providers, including Comcast Xfinity, Cox Communications, Charter Spectrum and Cablevision. As such, it brings the tradition all the way back to its quirky, only-in-New-York-City roots in 1966 on TV station WPIX. For anywhere from two to four hours on Christmas Eve, the popular local station broadcast images of a burning log on a continuous loop while holiday music played in the background.
Officially, the Yule Log brought a welcome bit of homespun holiday cheer to city dwellers living in cramped apartments, many of which didn’t come equipped with fireplaces. (Unofficially, viewers in the tri-state area (which included much of New Jersey and Connecticut) figured the no-frills presentation allowed most station employees to take Christmas Eve off to spend with their own families.)
WPIX “cancelled” the Yule Log in 1989, then brought it back by popular demand in 2001 (the station had started showing it on its web site a few years earlier). The VOD “tradition” started in 2007 and has been adding bells and whistles ever since, notably a 3D version starting in 2010.
To see that, you’ll need a 3D TV with compatible 3D glasses (Cheer up, maybe if your ugly Christmas sweater is ugly enough, no one will notice you’re wearing them). For everyone else, there are HD and standard definition versions of the log avaialable, as well as 13 additional one-hour videos covering a Santa’s sleigh-full of holiday themes like “Awesome Ornaments,” “Psychedelic Snowflakes” and, for furry viewers, “Yule Dogs.”
There’ll also be a Flickering Menorah video available on select systems from Dec. 24 - Jan. 1.
Also new this year: A new holiday video, “The Secret Life of Pets Yule Log,” featuring Max, Gidget and other characters from the hit movie.
For more information, check the Free On Demand folders on cable systems or visit www.indemand.com.