With temperatures expected in the 60s, Angelenos won’t need a real fire to warm up on Christmas morning — but they may well be flipping on the TV to watch a roaring fireplace with a continuous loop of holiday music playing in the background.
The "Yule Log" first hit airwaves in New York on Christmas Day in 1966. Executives at a local television station there came up with the idea to give their employees the day off - and give apartment dwellers a pseudo fireplace.
As hokey as it may seem hokey, TV analyst Mitch Metcalf of Showbuzz Daily said it's also rather genius — because huge audiences don’t watch television on Christmas Day anyway.
It is historically known as one of the lowest ratings days of the year. Americans are out of their normal television-viewing routine and preoccupied with holiday activities.
The calm, hypnotic burning log became a welcome backdrop in the living room, and a nice placeholder for local television stations around the country.
Now, one local station in nearly every major city in the U.S. airs a Yule Log on Christmas morning and he said it often garners top ratings for the day.
"In many markets, it does win," Metcalf said. "It’s become so competitive that in four of the biggest markets in this county, there are actually competing yule logs this year."
Los Angeles is one of those markets, with KTLA and KCAL facing off with dueling Yule Logs.
"The battle of Yule Log has arrived, and that is just proof of the ultimate rule of television - copying success," Metcalf said.
Shopping for a Yule Log?
Here's a promo for KCAL's:
In the past, cable networks have put their own spin on the Yule Log, such as The Hub, which aired a My Little Pony themed Yule Log last year. (Here's a clip from last year's Hub Yule Log)
This year, the Starz Network created their own Yule Log, which is themed to promote their new series Outlander. Here's a sample, featuring the theme song by Bear McCreary:
Netflix and a couple cable networks will also have their own Yule Logs. You can even download one to your phone, for a portable and tiny display, like this one.