I’M WRITING this week’s column from the heart of a divided Echo Towers.

It's Wednesday morning and The Northern Echo's esteemed news editor Andrew White has just been shouted at. It’s Secret Santa day and he’s wearing a tie fit for the occasion.

It’s blue, it has Santa on it and it sings, mercilessly. We Wish You a Merry Christmas is echoing in small, tinny form around the office.

The tie repeatedly plays on as Andy approaches my desk, demanding a news list for the day. I feel that his arrival heralds the beginning of Christmas.

Others, it seems, feel as though he should be strangled by his own festive neckwear.

It’s a pointlessly, needlessly joyous choice of work attire and there will be angry swearing imminently, I can sense it.

But it’s the pointless joy of Christmas that I like the most.

I’ve been wearing a snowflake necklace since approximately 0001am on December 1, I’ve got Santa on my socks and I want all of the festive, glittering tat, please.

I’d like to think I don’t take this season and all of the traditions therein too seriously but I may or may not have just forced my long-suffering mother to relocate an ornament from one side of her house to another.

Simply put, she should have known better by now than to put it in the wrong place.

It has dangled from that light every Christmas since 1995 and I will not, will never, accept it suspended above the front door.

Of course, I know quite well just how lucky and privileged I am that this kind of triviality even registers on my radar when for so many out there, Christmas is one of the most difficult times of the year.

I’m not so distracted by tinsel that I fail to see how dark and how devastating it can be for those who are lonely, grieving, struggling or simply fighting to survive the season.

But what I truly love about the festive season is the generosity of spirit that drives so many to go above and beyond to just, well, be nicer to others.

I know that warm displays of sentiment shouldn’t be confined to being an annual thing but there’s definitely kindness in abundance at this time of year, kindness that makes a huge difference.

In this job, when I’m not being distracted by Quality Street and Andy’s amazing tie, I inevitably spend a lot of the season meeting and speaking to individuals, groups, charities and business people who are giving up their time, parting with their money or otherwise going to great lengths to ensure that those in need – be they homeless, foodbank clients, ill children or otherwise struggling - emerge from the Christmas period touched by kindness.

It’s heart-warming and it helps.

I’d like to thank each and every person who’s making an effort to make a difference this festive season but Andy’s just started a fierce argument around which Christmas song has scientifically been proven to be the most festive.

He says it’s Shakin’ Stevens’ Merry Christmas Everyone and now there's frantic Googling and tension in the air.

I suspect this may be an attempt to divert attention from tiegate but I’m going to have to leave this and jump into the fray.

Happy Christmas, one and all.