Much fun can be had on the darkest day. (Image: Gabi Lardies).
Much fun can be had on the darkest day. (Image: Gabi Lardies).

SocietyJune 21, 2024

How to celebrate the darkest day of the year

Much fun can be had on the darkest day. (Image: Gabi Lardies).
Much fun can be had on the darkest day. (Image: Gabi Lardies).

We’ve made it to the darkest day of the year, an official turning point sanctioned by the earth’s axis. Don’t let this achievement go by without celebrating.

Today, the sun rose at 7:48am and will set at 5pm, giving us a measly nine hours and 12 minutes of daylight. It is a weak daylight, from a low sun that wishes it was rotting in bed like the rest of us. This darkness should come as no surprise given the general vibes. Our vit D is depleted. Our bones are cold. The will to live has petered out. Nothing is really growing in the garden. Our bosses would be calling us lazy in their heads except they are stuck in paralytic malaise too. We’ve been wearing the same outfit and not brushed our hair for a month. All our vital signs have been on a steep decline, following the sun’s energy, as life has always done, even though one day it’s going to expand and swallow the earth whole. 

But if today is the darkest day, it means that tomorrow will be a little brighter. Rock bottom is a turning point. Imagine yourself as a basketballl. You hit the concrete, you bounce back up. Sure, there’s a hand up there waiting to pound you back down, but right now it is a fuzzy silhouette, six months away and barely visible in the gloom. Here are 11 ways to mark the achievement of making it here, the moment of being smooshed into the ground.

man with money notes falling on him
Feel the dollars blow down on you. (Photo: Getty Images/The Spinoff)


If there was ever a time to turn your heat pump on with complete abandon, it’s tonight. I suggest a starting temperature of 29 degrees, which you can gradually adjust according to levels of dehydration. 

Dig a hole

After being inundated with cutesy illustrations telling me I am a complicated houseplant that just needs water and sunlight, I have decided perhaps I am just a dog with less fur and smaller ears. So, dig a hole. A real one in the ground. Get mud on you and feel a sense of achievement. Narrow and deep is best, so that any onlookers know it’s not a grave. You could stand in it if you want to feel like a plant.

Adult entertainment at its finest.


A contemporary celebration of darkness and light, which should not be limited to 12-year-olds’ birthday parties. Going with friends is especially fun, because it’s not often you get to chase and shoot lasers at them, but not having friends is not a problem – the staff will add you into a group. 

Finally abandon all the ‘get happy quick’ schemes you’re never going to do

Nothing feels better than crossing “gym membership” off your to-do list. We have 100% dodged a bullet here, as had you got a membership you would be poorer and feel worse about yourself for not going. Now, you can re-allocate that $25 a week to something actually good for you, like dark chocolate, red wine or bikini bottoms that show off your big butt.

Say something nice (and true) to someone

This is a great, scientifically proven hack for feeling better about yourself. You’re so kind and thoughtful, you’re really just the best.

Uninstall the death scroll apps

I know exactly the excuse you have prepared: “but how will I message my friends?” I am here to tell you about Beeper, a free app which collates your messages from all the apps into one inbox. It means you can kiss Instagram and Messenger goodbye. I am a millennial, so I don’t know if TikTok has messages or not, but I trust you have common sense and can apply it.

Get excited about Matariki

In just seven days it’s Matariki. A chance to eat a lotyes. A chance to gaze at the starsyes. The whole country being contemplative and hopeful about the futureyes. A public holidayyes. Another chance at rebirth if today doesn’t quite workyes!

Buy new socks

On the weekend of my birthday, I wrote a list of things I wanted to do. This particular item was added by my boyfriend who has for some time been miffed by my wearing of socks which have come to resemble mesh at the heels and toes. I’m sure it’s anxiety about being outlived by a sock with a glittery cat on it. Still, I never ignore an excuse to go to Dressmart, where 70% of my happy childhood memories are set. Off we went to the Cotton On outlet where socks were on sale for $2 a pair – $1 per sock! Nothing could have made me happier than that bargain. 

Tell the geminis in your life you love them

It’s the season and my inbox is open.

A chai walla in New Delhi – New Zealanders obviously can’t be trusted with glass cups. (Photo: Getty)

Go get a chai on Sandringham Road

On a recent trip to Sandringham Road, there were people milling around the footpaths, chatting and drinking chai from tiny little paper cups. There were families, friends, dates and people on work breaks. “This is society,” I thought to myself. Most of the times I notice society are when I have a gripe about it, so this was a nice alternative view.

This society is much better than arbitrary rules we have to follow like 40-hour work weeks and having to keep on churning even though that sun I mentioned earlier is coming to get us. Go get yourself a little cup of that good stuff and mill about smiling – it’s only $2 from the cute food trucks.

Have a driving singalong, preferably alone

Rev up the station wagon, turn on the bluetooth speaker, and select ‘How You Remind Me’ by Nickelback. Zooming through space in your glass and metal box means no one is ever going to know how terrible the songs engraved deep in your psyche are, or how off-key your voice is. Carving out special moments to be true to our deepest selves is what the longest nights should be for. 

One parting note

Don’t run off to Mexico or Italy – it’s not fair on the rest of us.

Keep going!