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Why did I win the New Hope hat for asking, answering or voting on December 18, 2015? I mean that's tomorrow, right? Today is the 17th of December, as much as I can see on my desktop computer's clock, and I am sure neither me nor the desktop is drunk. Similar things have happened to more users as well. So what's going on? Are we travelling ahead of time?

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From Aarthi's answer on Meta Stack Exchange from a previous Winter Bash:

So, the official answer is: we over-awarded the hat so that people in Auckland / Tokyo / Shanghai / Vanuatu wouldn't have to wait until their midday to receive it.

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This behavior will also occur for the other hats that are date-sensitive. This included L'Chaim, and will include Tis the Season and the New Year's Eve Hat / Auld Lang Syne.

Basically: Don't panic! It's a feature, not a bug!

Following the dupe chain we get to an answer by balpha

Leeway on date-based hats

Unless the requirement mentions a specific timezone, hats that are date-based are often awarded for 14 hours before and 12 hours after the specified date in UTC, to accomodate people everywhere in the world. This means you can earn such a hat even though for you it's not even that day yet.

Example: The hat Living in a Box is awarded for voting to close a question on December 26th. To earn this hat, you have to cast a close vote between 12/25 at 10:00 UTC and 12/27 at 12:00 UTC.

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