December 21 marks the beginning of the astronomical winter.
"It's the day where the sun reaches its southernmost point in the sky for us the northern hemisphere," says astronomer Andrew Yee. "So that means it's the shortest day of the year, but the good news is from now on, the sun is going to start its northward journey in the sky so the days will get longer."
Yee adds that day and night will become more or less of equal length when the Vernal Equinox arrives on March 20th of 2013.
Despite all the hype, December 21, 2012 did not mark doomsday
"Hey, we're here! Let's celebrate, have a party," laughs Yee.