IT could be an Amazon Christmas. With no one allowed to visit “non-essential” for the next four weeks, it will be easy, convenient and, as Amazon doesn’t have high street overheads, perhaps cheaper to click, click, click on Santa’s behalf from the comfort of our sofas and then wait in lockdown for a van to deliver.

And it is true that that will be supporting local jobs – Amazon has massive warehouses at Darlington and Durham and the people who work there deserve local support.

However, so many of the small, independent businesses on our high streets rely on profitable Novembers and Decembers to make their year-round efforts worthwhile. Many of them have already invested in buying and making Christmas stock; many of them will have pinned their hopes on the large Christmas markets that, in November at least, won’t be happening.

But many of them do have their own websites and are able, and willing, to deliver.

If we give Amazon all of our seasonal spend, these local businesses will become victims of the coronavirus. Our town centres will become even emptier and more desolate, and our purchases and presents will become more alike.

Please shop around and support local businesses where you can.