It's an unspoken fact that everyone, whether they're more 'bah humbug' than 'happy holidays', waits with bated breath for each new year's Christmas adverts to drop. It's another unspoken rule that each one is in direct competition with each other, vying to break more hearts and trigger more tears. 

For many people, the holiday season doesn't fully begin until John Lewis has released its latest emotion-opus upon us, and with a few particularly excellent adverts becoming culture-defining clips in themselves, most retailers have realised that "sadverts" are big business. 

So tissues at the ready, here's our run down of this year's crop of tearjerkers so far. 

John Lewis, 'The Boy and the Piano'

Always the most eagerly anticipated Christmas advert of the year, John Lewis has offered up another touching reflection on the true meaning of Christmas. This year, that is gifts that are more than gifts, but it could just as well be Elton John as the legendary singer fronts the campaign.

Doubling as a curious testament to the career of the singer, it charts his stratospheric success, moving backwards from blow-out stadium shows, to informal jam sessions on tour planes, to wowing his family and friends as a child in the local pub to, finally, the moving moment his mother - having scrimped and saved - gifted him with a piano for Christmas. 

While genuinely touching, the advert has drawn criticism for the focus on Elton, with more than a few commentators noting its easy tie-in with Rocketman, the upcoming Elton John biopic. It stands in marked contrast to the company's previous adverts that tackled the sensitive and overlooked realities of Christmas, such as 'The Man on the Moon', which dealt with loneliness in old age.

Still, when it comes to glamour, glitz and spectacle - all hallmarks of Christmas - you can't deny: Elton John has it all.  

Iceland, 'Say hello to Rang-tan'

The dark horse in the Christmas advert crop, Iceland's offering made international headlines after it's powerful reflection on the horrors of palm oil plantations, which lead to deforestation and the death of many animals, including 25 orangutans each day. It's a sobering glimpse into reality, fitting for a society waking up to environmental changes and a welcome break from the sentimental adverts we usually see. 

The 90-second film, narrated by Emma Thompson, tells the story of a "rang-tan" or orangutan who is taking shelter in a little girl's bedroom after her home was destroyed for palm oil production. A masterstroke in storytelling, with swelling, somber music and touching animation, it's a new benchmark for adverts in general. 

Banned upon its release for being too political, it has started a conversation that saw Iceland release an animatronic orangutan around London, which viewers won't soon forget. 

Aldi, 'Kevin the Carrot and the Wicked Parsnip'

Jim Broadbent returns to narrate another tale of Kevin the Carrot, the sturdy and sweet Christmas carrot the Aldi introduced with their advert last year. This year, tension mounts as the Wicked Parsnip, the "root of all evil" and apparent miser for all lovers of Christmas, plots to eat Kevin in his Christmas feast. 

It's a delightfully camp Tim Burton-esque offering, with shocked baby carrots, a curiously French parsnip as the villain, a round of golfing with peas and even an appearance from the Big Man in Red himself. It'll do wonders for inspiring kids to eat their veggies on Christmas day, and you can never go wrong with a banquet table of glistening, steaming food. 

Marks & Spencer

M&S never disappoints, even with this comparatively pared back version of their annual glamorous advert. With a campaign fronted by real-life fairy godmother, Holly Willoughby, the clip is a romp through the best parts of the Christmas season, from party after party to kicking back and watching Bridget Jones' Diary. 

In true Christmas advert form, it also offers some serious living aspirations, such as model David Gandy in Marigolds doing the dishes. I mean, come on. 

Asking "What makes Christmas Christmas?" it's a relatable and fun look at the festive season, as always showing off the best of M&S fashion on a range of diverse shapes, sizes and races. 

Lidl, 'Upgrade Your Christmas'

You know competition is getting tough when Lidl releases no less than three Christmas adverts. With each one just 20 seconds long, they're lighthearted and rapid-fire glimpses into how saving so much on Christmas fare can family life - in one instance, by freeing up funds for an industrial strength snow cannon.