Hemant Mehta loves the Christmas season.
He loves getting together with family and friends. He loves giving gifts. He loves the upbeat spirit and the crowds shopping on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. He even has a tree.
There’s just one catch: Mehta is an atheist.
But that’s no reason not to enjoy “the most wonderful time of the year,” as the song goes.
“Christians don’t own December. Even if Christmas as a Christian holiday didn’t exist right now, I think there would be plenty of reason that it makes sense to take a couple weeks off at the end of the year, when the weather isn’t great, when everyone kind of needs a break from work,” said Mehta, a Chicago-area writer and former math teacher who blogs at The Friendly Atheist. “This is a nice way to just relax and spend time with your family. If it coincides with the majority’s religious holiday, great.”