Like the first spots of rain on a winter’s night, the big Christmas ads have started to drop. And the mood is austere. No CGI Dickensian cityscapes: instead, the equivalents of so many lumps of coal.

Nowhere more so than over at Waitrose, where Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal patiently explain that “instead of a fancy TV advert” the retailer is going to donate more cash to the charities it supports, £1m more in fact.

Noble stuff. But don’t shoppers like a bit of glitter when times are hard? What of sister company John Lewis, which launched its festive campaign yesterday and is reported to be less than delighted with the implied criticism? The chefs were giggling at the end, but if this backfires, Waitrose won’t be.