There's nothing more emblematic of winter cheer than snuggling up in front of a fireplace, but not all of us are lucky enough to have one in our house. I have a space heater, sure, and a radiator that clangs and clacks kind of like a crackling fire, but when I'm stuck inside from a winter storm binging Netflix and Hulu's respective Fyre Festival documentaries, I need a roaring fire in the background or my heart will literally shrink three sizes, and I suspect you feel the same. But, where to find one?
Once again, thank God for the Internet. While it can't manifest an actual flaming fire in your home, it can deliver you a virtual substitute that's just as good. Well, sometimes. There are so many virtual options out there, but they weren't all created equal. You can't just throw up any old video — there are some important factors to consider. How long does it run (you don't want it cutting off in the middle of your celebration)? What's the log quality (you'll be looking at them for a couple hours, after all)? How well does it crackle (if it sounds like popcorn, you've got an imposter on your hands)? It's a lot, I know.
I don't put on my Sherlock Holmes hat for just anything — I don't like what it does to my hair — but when it comes to the holiday season, some things are worth it. And so, I went ahead and did the dirty work of testing out a bunch of options across all your favorite streaming services to deliver you the best of the best. But let's get two disappointments out of the way first.
Doesn't have one.
So where does that leave us? Still with plenty to choose from, thank Rudolph. Below, I picked out four stand-outs to help you figure out what's best for your particular holiday mood.
The Most Festive One
Log quality: 9/10
Crackling sound: 6/10 (it's a little much)
Run time: 10/10
The Most Realistic One
Log quality: 3/10
Crackling sound: 8/10
Run time: 5/10
The One You'll Probably Use Anyway
Log quality: 10/10
Crackling sound: 10/10
Run time: 2/10
The Only Other One I Could Find
"A Christmas Fireplace"
Log quality: 8/10
Crackling sound: 1/10 (sounds like paper)
Run time: 2/10