Winter Solstice

Did you know that today is the shortest (read: darkest) day of the year in North America? Today the sunset in New York will take place at 4:32pm. Zoinks!

Does it feel dark where you are? Do you ever get winter blues? It’s hard not to, when the days are so dark. But! The good news is, the days will now get brighter every day for the rest of the winter. So if you can make it through today, you’re all set. :)

(Actual photos of the earth at night by NASA)

  1. Anonymous says...
  2. Even though this happens every year – the whole getting darker earlier business – it never ceases to amaze and depress! Isn’t that fascinating?!

    Maria xx

  3. 4:32?! REALLY? I thought the latest the sun sets ever is around 4:55 p.m. Gotta check this out. I’m flustered about this.

  4. We celebrated the night of the Solstice here in Seattle with a fire that burned from sundown to sunup, a bunch of friends in the living room, a giant pot of white chili and lots of fairy lights. Every year we have our fire, and it sure helps lift spirits on the longest night of the year – the perfect start to a great holiday weekend, too!

  5. aaaw look at our little Britain glow! It looks very festive! I wonder what that chunk of light is in the middle…London?

    Dinx @ Lovely in Random xoxo

  6. Hello,

    woah! that is really cool, however, since I moved to New york now, I think the spirit of Christmas is all over the place. I see so many lights, especially during night. I recommend you to check it out too.

  7. Since I moved to Chicago in November the sun sets at 4:30 or earlier almost every day, and it gets dark in the apartment earlier than that since our front windows are north facing. It does make me a little sad sometimes

  8. Rachel says...

    Here in New England (Boston), we just use it as excuse to drink warm beverages, bake cookies, and light some candles. It makes the start of Winter less gloomy.

  9. Growing up in Maine, it would be dark by 4pm. You woke up to dark, and when in college, came home from classes to dark. Which of course can get depressing after a while! I now live in Buffalo, and its funny how a slight variation in latitude makes such a difference. The trade off is that in Maine, we had so many beautiful sunny days where the sun twinkles off the snow – exactly what you think of when you picture an idyllic wintery scene… Cold? Ungodly so, at times! Now here in Buffalo, the temperatures are milder, and the days are longer, but there is a constant hazy grey cloud cover all winter long … sometimes I miss the crisp (jarring!) cold but twinkly bright winter days from back home. So its essentially quality of daylight vs quantity, I suppose.

  10. Happy Solstice! Did you celebrate it in any way? I’d love to hear how, if you did.

  11. Very hot here in New Zealand, with the sun setting about 9.30 pm :)

  12. We’re in Iceland, where the sun ‘rises’ at 11:30 right now and sets at 3:45! :)

  13. Sonia says...

    It’s lovely summer down here in New Zealand with looong days! We usually have a swim before Christmas dinner :)

  14. It’s so weird – I live in Australia so yesterday was the longest day of the year. It was a mild night (about 25C) and we made the most of it by having dinner and drinks at the pub, sitting on a rooftop. The sun set after 9pm.

    What is strange though is I felt a little sad that because we’ve had the longest day of the year and they are just getting shorter now from here on. I guess you guys in the Northern hemisphere can be happy that the days are getting longer for you from now on!!

  15. It’s so weird – I live in Australia so yesterday was the longest day of the year. It was a mild night (about 25C) and we made the most of it by having dinner and drinks at the pub, sitting on a rooftop. The sun set after 9pm.

    What is strange though is I felt a little sad that because we’ve had the longest day of the year and they are just getting shorter now from here on. I guess you guys in the Northern hemisphere can be happy that the days are getting longer for you from now on!!

  16. the darkness is mad! I’m in Sweden right now, so glad that it has turned :) looking at those pics makes me think even more how my bf is up in the air on his way to the states and I am here. both of our homes away from our home, are so bright but in two different pics, that makes me a bit sad..

  17. when I started gardening (and following old agrarian holidays as guides to tending my garden), I stopped suffering from SADD, which many people struggle with here in the gray northwest. Part of that calendar includes yule! It’s a beautiful sunny day here in Seattle – supposedly our last one for at least a week – and I am enjoying the heck out of it!

    I love the photo you posted of the US: you can really see the way this country was colonized, can’t you? There’s kind of a line, there in the middle, and the lights just peter out – until you get to the west coast. I’ve never been back east; sometimes it’s weird to realize how isolated this part of the country is, in some ways.

  18. its not the early setting sun that gets me down, its the late start the sun gets every morning. Mornings are hard enough for me. And when I’m up before the sun, well it makes them that much worse.

  19. Anonymous says...

    IT’s funny, I use to get the winter blues when I lived in Madison, WI and Portland, OR, but the falls there are amazing.

    Now in Northern California, the falls are ho-hum, and no winter blues.

    I guess it’s a trade-off.

  20. I’m so happy it will stay light a bit longer now! Now I can begin the countdown to summer solstice

  21. tali says...

    i love the last line of your post, joanna! …if you can make it through today, you’re all set. :) am having a rough day and that just managed to put everything into perspective. thanks!

  22. Kylie says...

    In the province I’m from in Canada, we’re an hour and a half ahead of the rest of North America, so we naturally (and correctly) get the impression it gets darker/earlier a lot faster than the rest of this side of the world

  23. Oh today became dark by 12pm… it’s really feel bad, but love it will go longer from now on! Yeah! here in Sweden :)

  24. I love knowing that we’re now headed towards more sunshine and daylight. I am finding myself into a bit of winter funk, so I’ll have to remind myself that things are looking up :)

    Beautiful photos, also!

  25. I love the winter solstice! It means every day from now until June will have more and more sunshine (like you said). Knowing that each day is a little closer to a long, warm evening barbeque gets me through January!
    Love those pictures of Earth…I think I’ll frame and hang them.

  26. I love it to be dark during the holidays, but other than that it makes me sad! =(

  27. Yeah, I hate the early darkening sky in winter.. makes me feel so gloomy! But, I don’t have to worry about darkening skies and cold weather for a while. :-) Right now, it starts getting darker at about 8:30—9pm! :-D

  28. Anonymous says...

    Amazing photos! I would love to go somewhere where the ambient light is low and see a night sky full of stars – we never see many stars near our cities. So nice to think of each day getting longer.

  29. To me this time of year is all about lighting candles and having open fires. At the moment I am lighting a fire in our woodburner as it goes dark most days – so cosy!

  30. That’s so funny–been thinking the same thing: It’s all uphill (less dark) from here!

    Crazy how dark Africa is, right? So much raw land. Makes me wanna go see the stars from there…

  31. Anonymous says...

    Perhaps that explains my gloom today. Very windy here in Yorkshire but sunny and not cold. I shall light candles and start dreaming of May, my favourite month. Also have just bought two lovely old children’s books from a charity shop so will pretend I am 10 years old again…
    Happy Midwinter, everybody!

  32. I remind myself of this fact every time we turn the clocks back each year. I can’t wait until these dark days are over!

  33. Happy Solstice :o)

    We woke up at 5:00 to meditate on the new light coming after the equinox and to watch the sun come up in its new spot. We even had a fireplace fire!
    I hope I make it home before it gets dark after work!

  34. Those pictures are ridiculous!!!

    Normally I get a case of the winter blues, but this year we fiiinally got our gas fireplace fixed, so I’m hoping the cozy-ness of curling up next to a roaring fire will help lift my spirits. ;-)

  35. this is my one of my favourite days of the year as it means we’ll get more daylight – last winter was spent in Austria and I def got the winter blues there… snow and darkness for too many weeks!
    really happy that the weather in London is extremely mild right now.

  36. Sun is shining and it’s 60 degrees here in MD which is fantastic for the shortest darkest day of the year. I hate winter coldness and darkness but I try to remind myself that without dark, there would be no light.

  37. Oh those photos are beautiful. It’s like looking up at a cluster of continent-shaped constellations.

    I’m also in NYC so this whole getting dark only hours after waking up is throwing me off and leaving me sleepy way too early! Hope you’re all set to go for the weekend!

  38. not my favorite day of the year.
    it gets dark here in the usvi at 5:45 not so bad compared to nyc but we also don’t get those amazing long summer days cause we’re so close to the equator.

  39. Barchbo says...

    In Austin, we had 90 days over 100 this year. I long for winter, short days and “cold” weather (oooh…the 40s!)

    I get warm-weather depressed in October and November when it’s still in the 90s.

  40. i get sooo depressed in the winter, when days are so small and by the time i leave my office it’s dark. living in the Mediterranean, i am not used to dark days so i start feeling tired and sleepy and my energy levels are sooo low that i am rarely in the mood to do things…
    but i ALWAYS start thinking about it when it’s time for the days to start getting longer, and my spirit lifts! :D

  41. this is somehow encouraging to me and just what I needed to read, Joanna :)

  42. Miss Becca says...

    Love the pics! I live in Southern California and still get the winter blues – even though our days are sunnier and longer than most. In winter I feel like the low sun is always in my eyes. I long for spring already!

  43. these photos are gorgeous… thank you for sharing.

  44. well…living in Alaska, I definitly get affected by the dark. As long as I keep busy, I’m ok but once I start sitting around, I get a little bummed out. The plus side is we’ll gain daylight after today!

  45. It sets at 3:53pm in London! One thing I don’t miss about living in the UK…

  46. wow thats one early sunset! Shucks – right when I have to drive home today! Oh well, Merry Christmas!!1

  47. Our day was dark but Toronto hasn’t gotten any snow yet. It doesn’t feel like Christmas or even all that much like winter!

  48. When I lived in Alaska we celebrated Winter and Summer Solstice. Summer Solstice was almost always on the top of a mountain. So fun!

  49. Have you seen the “earth at night” photo of North Korea? It’s crazy! All the countries around it are lit up but North Korea is completely dark. Saw it this week on the news – fascinating.

  50. Nicole says...

    At least it’s nice and warm! So weird! Also, my boss told me something funny… it’s not actually the earliest sunset. That was a few weeks ago, at 4:22! So, I think the sunrise was still getting later (here, in New York), but the sunset situation has actually been improving. Either which way, is it summer yet??? I’ve been wondering, how’s it been working out with taking Toby outside every day?

  51. Yeah I don’t like the darkness, makes me feel sad. i wish it could be winter but lighter late.

    Those photos are amazing.

    Amelia @ UGLY DUCKLING x

    Enter my GIVEAWAY to win a China Glaze nail polish set! I WAS AN UGLY DUCKLING BLOG!

  52. Ack! Darkness is not welcome when I’m driving the four hours home from my university… But having experienced many a winters in Wisconsin, this has been the mildest winter I remember! It feels like a never ending fall. Which I’m completely fine with :)

  53. I have been looking forward to this day since the daylight savings! Thank goodness that we’re on the upswing now:)

  54. there am I, in the last picture!!! In the western country of Europe: Portugal!!! In the North hemisphere, therefor, it’s winter too, and yesterday was also the smallest day of the year! From now on will be counting the days to the Spring!!! Although I enjoy the winter too (some parts of it!)

    Merry Xmas

  55. those photos are so gorgeous!
    this year hasn’t been bad – there’s been almost no snow, so shocking!!
    but there have been some years, when it’s already been snowing since before halloween and the roads are bad and the people are grumpy, that it feels like winter is never going to end.

  56. I definitely get the winter blues. But the warm weather here in VA is helping me keep them away! It’s almost 60 degrees!

  57. i hate driving home when it’s so dark out! but those photos are beautiful.

  58. Libby says...

    Geesh I wish the sunset was at 4:30 at this time of year! In Maine it’s almost an hour earlier!

  59. I don’t tend to get the winter blues, but it does feel weird to wake up and it’s dark, and then leave work and it’s already dark again. But I love the solstice–it feels magical and then the days just get longer. Summer is just around the corner! ;)

  60. actually, i did know that, as today is my birthday. (more of a birth night, haha!)

    it’s sunny outside, so i’m off to explore the beautiful day…while it lasts! :)

  61. While everything about the Soltices and Equinoxes are absolutely fascinating to me, my favorite part of this whole post was…ZOINKS! Here’s to brighter days!

  62. I think it might be that I live in Phoenix where we get SO much sun and it can get SO hot so the cold dark days feel like a relief. It’s like the opposite of the winter blues! I feel like of silly but I wonder if anyone else feels that way?

  63. Weird, I was just thinking how bright it has been this winter so far in London. Has been bright sunshine, far nicer than usual!

    Bring on the summer, tho.

  64. Living in Oregon, where it can get pretty gloomy in the winter months, I alwasy look forward to this time of year. Just knowing the days are getting longer helps :-) Happy Holidays to you & your family. -amy

  65. It’s funny trying to explain to my daighter that it’s not actually night time even though it looks like it outside!

  66. I’m excited to celebrate the solstice with girlfriends, fondue, and wine :)

  67. I guess we picked a good day to do to Rockefeller center to see the tree!