The longest night is upon us.
The winter solstice arrives in the Northern Hemisphere on Wednesday, ushering in winter on what is also the shortest day of the year. Winter officially arrives at 2:44 a.m. PT, when the sun is at it lowest latitude in the Earth's sky.
To underscore the bone-chilling weather many of us can expect for the next three months or so, Google has created an animated doodle that features the same family stone that heralded the coming of summer and fall earlier this year. As snow flakes gently blanket our boulder buddies, you can almost read their hope in their eyes for the warmer days still months off as they shiver under the snow.
And just as there are two sides to every coin, story, etc., the story is different on the other side of the world. In the Southern Hemisphere, the summer solstice marks the longest day of the year below the equator and traditionally warmer weather. Google's family of stones is rolling into the summer solstice, welcoming warmer days with the help a strawberry-stealing squirrel.
Both events have varied interpretations among different cultures worldwide but are generally marked by holidays, festivals and rituals. However you mark the seasons changing, take solace in knowing that the days are getting longer (and shorter).