My advice: be prepared, and shop early

THE TREE has yet to be burdened with stockings, the turkey has yet to be eaten, and my dad has yet to fall asleep.

Well, actually, that’s probably happened already.

You see, I’m writing this before the big day, where too much is eaten, too many presents with dangerous and very irritating, solid plastic packaging are opened, and in my family’s case a fair amount of church going is done, as is the way with Christmas for many millions, if not billions, around the world. It’s very exciting.

But there are a few things that have dampened my spirits. Firstly, I’ve already spent too much money.

I’m not a millionaire or anything like that, so I have, overall, spent way less that £100. Still, 100 of the Queen’s finest golden metallic faces (coins, to you and me) is still quite a lot.

Secondly, if you were in Worthing town the other day, you would have seen a young fellow walking around with a frantic and rather tired, ragged look on his face.

I had bought some rather lovely gifts for my parents, but, this being my first trip into the town for nearly three months, I saw a few things that took my fancy.

To cut a very long story short, I bought a few things for myself.

Yes, you read that correctly: I went Christmas shopping and came back with gifts for myself.

As a result, I had nothing for my cousin, so I hastily gift wrapped six tea bags; I had no gifts for my aunties, so I will now live through this Christmas period knowing that I will have to clean their cars, or shine their shoes - anything to rid myself of this guilty conscience.

Enough with the woeful tales of disastrous Christmas shopping! Let’s look forward to the New Year, the year 2012.

All things considered, 2011 has been a rather good one for the motoring world. Lamborghini launched the Aventador, the fifth V12 Lamborghini in the company’s history.

The McLaren MP4-12C was released, and driven for the first time in public at the Goodwood Festival of Speed - all jolly lovely cars.

But what am I most looking forward too? - the next series of Compare the Meerkat adverts, for one thing.

But in the automotive world, I’m looking forward to seeing what the Toyota GT-86 and Subaru BR-Z I mentioned last week are like, and what new creation Aston have come up with in their Gaydon headquarters.

Truth be told, I’m looking forward to pretty much everything, whether it’s driving, reading, or doing a bit more writing.

By the time you read this I hope you will have had a very merry and exciting time, and that when next Christmas comes around, you’ll be more prepared for the shopping than I was this year.

Happy New Year!

Seán Ward