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Winter solstice celebrated in Google doodle

Google has celebrated the shortest day of the year the only way it knows how, with an animated Google doodle.

Today is the winter solstice, which means that over the next 24 hours, we'll see the shortest day of the year and the longest night. Sunset is due at 3:53pm this afternoon, according to BBC Weather. So winter is well and truly here.

But don't worry, Google has knitted us a Google doodle to keep us warm. Head to the search engine's home page, and you'll see an animated doodle, knitting a scarf and glove in the shape of the Google logo. Toasty.

The doodle was created by German illustrator Christoph Niemann, who describes himself on his Twitter bio as a "visual storyteller". He has quite a body of work, ranging from illustrations for The New Yorker and Zeit Magazine to adverts for MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art) in New York.

Thousands of people are expected to gather at Stonehenge to celebrate the winter solstice, just as they do the summer solstice around the 21 June. The rising sun should be in alignment with the site's ancient stones.

It's a lot warmer staying in and watching the Google doodle, though.

On the plus side, the days will start to get longer, though it'll take a while. In a week's time, for example, sunrise will be at 8:06am, and sunset at 3:58pm, making the day a whole seven minutes longer than today. Woo! Break out the deck chairs, it's practically summer!

Google recently celebrated St Andrew's Day with a doodle, but has also rolled out its special one-off illustrations and animations for St George's Day, St Patrick's Day, the Tour de France, and the birthdays of such illustrious people as photographer Sir Norman Parkinson and sci-fi author Douglas Adams.

What will you be doing this winter solstice? And which is your favourite Google doodle of all time? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.