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The Loop

How to Spend the Shortest Day of the Year

December 21, 2017
Mountain sunshine


It’s the Winter Solstice, which, for those of you who aren’t attuned to astrophysics / don’t pray to the ancient Wiccan gods, means today is the shortest day of the year. Well, that’s actually wrong — the day’s still 24 hours long, but those 24 hours contain the year’s least amount of daylight, so people say “shortest” because they like to be intentionally confusing, and I’m not sure all this math holds true in places like Antarctica or Iceland anyway. You know what, it’s gonna get dark fast, let’s just leave it at that.

But even with scant daylight, the day doesn’t have to be a total waste! Here are some fine suggestions for how to spend the shortest and most depressing day of the year. (Ha! Just kidding, 2017 provided at least 175 Most Depressing Days of the Year, but this one is definitely the darkest.)

• Tell your wife that sure, you would be happy to spend the day shopping with her, then chuckle smugly to yourself as you check your watch and realize that means like maybe 45 more minutes

• Succumb to disappointment as you realize she’s counting the actual number of hours in the day, and not some arbitrary daylight-based nonsense, pout for the entire 45 minutes you’re in Sephora

• Sacrifice a virgin goat to the Elder Gods in the grand Satanic tradition, that’s supposed to happen on the Winter Solstice, if I remember right from The Training

• Since today sucks anyway, try to figure out if you save any money with the tax cut bill (you don’t)

• Tell boss you plan to spend the ENTIRE DAY working on metrics reports, chuckle smugly to yourself in the quiet satisfaction of doing that about three minutes less than you did yesterday

• Since today sucks anyway, get whatever you need at a Walgreens

• If it’s the shortest day, it’s the LONGEST NIGHT, so whatever luminescent Christmas-light magnificence you’ve hammered and taped upon your house’s gutters is about to enjoy its best-ever chance to shine its glory upon your neighborhood. Drive around drumming up interest

• Since today sucks anyway, watch some New York Giants highlights

• Go for a six-minute run

• Shop the Lowe’s Winter Solstice Appliance Blowout, which has to be a thing according to the seventeen thousand god damn emails they send me for various sales in December

• Since today sucks anyway, go see that movie where John Cena is a funny talking rhino or what-the-hell-ever

• While the kids are at school, go outside and stock up on snowballs. Hundreds of them. Thousands, if you don’t have a job. Then, later tonight, ask them to come outside and help you with the lights or the fire or the reindeer-feeding and assail them with a relentless barrage under cover of night.

• Load up on Red Bull and prepare to go caroling for like six solid hours

• Remind yourself why you don’t live in the Caribbean where no one pays the remotest bit of attention to any of this shit

• Keep the same crushing, interior-based routine you’ve maintained for all of December, just do it for like three extra minutes

• Remind yourself that the days will get a little bit longer every day from here on out, that today marks the darkest winter, that every rotation will mean a little more life-giving daylight, and that this will have an appreciable effect maybe by like March