Product review: Cool Yule – traditional Yule log from Certainly Wood

Unusual yule log Christmas present from Certainly Wood

Stuck for a really original Christmas present? Herefordshire-based company Certainly Wood have come up with a novel gift idea that’s packed with the spirit of the season. We tried out their Yule log pack, £25 including P&P, to see if it would get us in the festive mood.

Real log fires are a must at Christmas, providing a focal point as well as much-needed warmth, but in our modern days of central heating and gas fires it’s easy to forget how integral the Yule log used to be.

For centuries, burning a special Yule log over the twelve days of Christmas as meant to ensure good fortune, wealth and happiness for the coming year.   Although different varieties of trees were used, oak was the most popular as it represented healing, strength and wisdom.

Originally, the whole tree was burnt – a section a day – until the entire trunk had been completely consumed by the twelfth night. It was believed that doing so would cleanse away the previous year’s events, making way for the next twelve months.

However, as people’s fireplaces became smaller over time, instead of an entire tree, villagers were each given their own Yule log to burn in their hearth. It was important that clean hands were also used when touching the Yule Log and it was deemed bad luck for a bare-footed woman or a man with a squint to handle it.

On Twelfth Night, a small portion of what remained was supposed to be kept and used to light next year’s Yule Log.

Traditional Yule log gift pack from Certainly Wood

Our Yule log arrived by post in a cardboard box, accompanied by some sticks of kindling, a box of natural, chemical-free firelighters, some pine cones and a scroll detailing Yuletide traditions.

It also listed a suitable song for toasting the Yule log for good luck, and even a recipe for Wassail punch, a sort of spiced cider.

First impressions were that everything in the box was beautifully packaged, and really looked Christmassy – even the log itself sported a bow of red and gold ribbon. This is a symbolic gift of warmth and friendship, but it did look like a ‘proper’ present as well.

Our log was apparently sourced from an ancient oak tree, taken from an old woodland in Herefordshire that needed to be thinned out.

It was guaranteed to be taken from sustainable British woodland, locally sourced from within a 100-mile radius of Certainly Wood’s family-run farm, and it be kiln-dried for a clean, even burn. Well, we couldn’t comment on that at this stage – but it certainly looked pretty!

These natural wax-coated firelighters were surprisingly efficient

The natural firelighters were a nice touch – made from wood shavings thinly coated in wax, they looked lacy and insubstantial. They did a surprisingly efficient job, though, lighting the fire with the help of only two kindling sticks, which is a better performance than our usual chemical firelighters.

They also didn’t give off the oily black smoke which is a feature our normal firelighters which contain kerosene. The log itself, which was part of a branch and thus completely covered in bark for a longer burning time, burned easily and brightly for around four hours, easily enough to see it through Christmas Eve evening.

The log blazed happily for over four hours

All-in-all, this did feel slightly like a  ‘present for the person who has everything’. It is a lovely idea though, and beautifully executed – and it would be a lovely gift for someone you weren’t able to see on Christmas Day, carrying connotations of love and friendship for the new year.

Certainly Wood’s Yule Log  can be ordered online between now and 19th December from


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