New York Television’s Beloved and Enduring Yule Log

Yule Log
On Christmas Eve 1966, local New York City TV station, WPIX, began a strange holiday tradition. Immediately embraced and adored by locals, in the many decades since The Yule Log has been duplicated numerous times by television stations around the country.

A sampling of the largely self-explanatory broadcast can be viewed below.

Conceived initially as a means of bringing a touch of holiday warmth to traditionally chimney-free New York City residences, the program consisted exclusively of a film loop of a burning fireplace (originally shot at New York’s official mayor’s residence, Gracie Mansion), accompanied by a soundtrack of Christmas carols. It first aired on Christmas Eve, completely commercial free, at great financial loss to the channel, for two to four hours. The program was meant to provide a soundtrack for parents putting presents under the tree, or a centerpiece for families sat huddled and cozily bundled around the television, or whatever the case may have been.

While in these more sober and savvy times, it may to some seem a bit too low-tech, or high tech, for what it aspires to achieve, there are many Americans of a certain age for whom a real fireplace seems a pale imitation of this. While it’s come and gone from WPIX over the years, numerous local stations around the country do their own versions, and of course — as much does — it lives on forever on the Internet. provides a more in depth history here