My Fake Fireplace: Even Better Than the Real Thing?

Last night, I trudged home to my apartment through New York City's first snowfall of the season, feeling pretty cranky at the thought of the bills and dirty dishes that awaited me. The wind seemed to blow right through my parka and I kept passing restaurant windows full of revelers dancing around in holiday finery, which made me even crankier. Then I remembered my fake fireplace. 

My fake fireplace is technically a DVD. Its proper name is "Fireplace for Your Home" and it was sent to me by the kind folks at, where it currently retails for $12.88. The back of the case promised "the comfortable pleasure of a glowing fireplace without any mess." All I had to do was pop in the DVD and the fireplace would begin. "Then sit back, relax and enjoy the endless comfort that only a cozy fireplace can give." I've always pined for a fireplace, and suddenly pictured myself nestled on the couch with a glass of wine in front of the next best thing: a roaring fake fire. Perfection!

I don't have a TV so my computer had to do. After I loaded the disc, a menu appeared giving me the choice of "Crackling fireplace" or "Holiday music with crackling fireplace." Naturally, I opted for the latter. Immediately an instrumental version of "Joy to the World" began and the fireplace started up. Even with the music, I could still hear the fire crackle and spit. I began to wash the dishes. With my back turned, I could imagine a real fire, and the carols were awfully festive. I smiled, despite myself.

Later, I sat in front of my laptop and, what with the stifling heat coming from my ancient radiator, I really might have been in front of an actual fire. Even better, I could pause the fire, as I did during "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" when I placed a call to my credit card company about an erroneous charge. (To my dismay, however, the music on the phone line as I waited for a representative did not sound all that different from the music accompanying my fake fireplace.) 

After about 19 minutes in front of the ol' fire, though, I began to find it pretty dull. I tried to fast-forward it, but a "not permitted" message flashed. I tried to toast marshmallows in front of it ... you can imagine how that went. The copyright symbol that occasionally popped up on the logs depressed me. My mind wandered ... I wondered what the Real Housewives of Atlanta were up to? I reduced the size of the fireplace and began surfing the Internet. I made the flames smaller and smaller, and then finally turned my fake fireplace off. It hadn't exactly offered "endless comfort," but, as advertised, there was no mess.

Do you think a fireplace DVD could ever compare to the real thing? Chime in below!


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