Since the neolithic era, the December (winter) solstice has evolved into a time of great significance throughout humanity. In fact the time of the solstice is a common denominator upon which the histories and customs of many major cultures are interwoven. Here is a link to read more about customs and holidays around the December solstice.
The December solstice marks the day when the tilt of the Earth’s axis points the north pole away from the Sun. During this time, the Sun’s rays are at their most indirect angle as they strike the northern hemisphere and the daylight hours are at their minimum. Conversely, the Sun’s rays fall directly upon the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere where they experience their summer solstice and maximum daylight hours.
Here is a link to an interactive seasons astronomy simulator that lets you manipulate the date, latitude and the tilt of Earth’s axis to see the effect in seasonal temperatures, daylight hours, and the apparent path of the sun across the sky.
Have a wonderful solstice and a prosperous New Year!