Lighter, News

Another Log On The Fire

Image: Ryan Mahle
Image: Ryan Mahle

There are many traditions around the holidays.

“Holiday traditions,” in this case are things that people do every year during a holiday such as Christmas or Hanukkah. Usually it is something that people have done for many years, perhaps beginning a long time ago.

At Christmas, for instance, many people put up a Christmas tree or Christmas lights. These are Christmas traditions that have been going on for many years.

But there is a “new” Christmas tradition that has become very popular: The TV firelog.

It’s a TV channel that shows nothing but a large log fire, blazing in a fireplace.

That’s it.

People put it on their TV and it makes them feel like they are watching and listening to a crackling fire. It makes them feel calm and cosy.

The tradition started in Canada in 1986. At that time, not very many people knew about it or watched the channel. Today, more than three million people watch the fire log channel during the winter holiday season. That year, the fire log channel was created to give the staff who worked at the company that is now called Shaw Cable, a break at Christmas. By running the fire log during the holidays, everyone could go home for a few days and enjoy a bit of time off.

At that time, it was only broadcast to people in Edmonton but today it reaches people across Canada and beyond.

This year, the Shaw fire log was updated. They shot a new video inside a cabin in North Vancouver, British Columbia. The person who built the 2014 fire is the same one who built the original fire back in 1986.

The firelog really only burns for 30 minutes and then it is repeated on a continuous loop. The big excitement of the show is about half-way through when a man’s hand comes into the shot to poke at the fire a bit to make it brighter. People have fun thinking about that man—who is he? People have even written to Shaw Cable to ask if he is married.

Exactly who belongs to “the hand that stokes the fire” is kept as a secret, but Shaw confirms that he doesn’t wear a wedding ring—he is not married.

Today, the Shaw fire log is pretty high tech. Although it’s still really just a fire log that has been filmed, it has its own Twitter account (@ShawFireLog), its own Facebook page and it even has a computer app so you can see the burning log on a smartphone or a tablet.

The Shaw fire log will burn until Jan. 5 on Shaw Cable, channel 222.

This article was originally published on TKN on Dec. 12, 2014.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Would you rather watch 15 minutes of the fire log channel or the rotisserie channel? Why?

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences
Many people have theories about the man who turns the log. Who do you think he is? What is his story?

Make inferences about texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts as evidence (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Language Feature: Abbreviations
An abbreviation is a word that has been shortened from its actual form. For example, today’s article includes the abbreviation, “tech.” “Tech” is a short form of “technology.”

What other abbreviations do you know?

Why might an author use an abbreviation in their writing instead of the full word?
Consider at least three different reasons.