Only a third (33%) of van drivers will take time off over the Christmas holidays, according to a survey conducted by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

Of the 500 drivers it questioned, the brand also found that one in four are planning to work on Christmas Eve while 70% claimed to have used their vans to do favours for friends and family over previous festive periods.

One in six van drivers said they would be on call on Christmas Day this year to attend to jobs such as unexpected leaks, broken down boilers or cars that will not start in the cold weather.

A fifth of van drivers claimed they would be back on the job on Boxing Day, a quarter plan to work on New Year’s Eve and one in 10 vowed to put in a shift on New Year’s Day.

In a busy period for traders and delivery firms, 24% of drivers said they would get into the Christmas spirit by decorating their vans.

“Christmas is a busy time for the nation’s van drivers, as customers want everything done and delivered before they finish for the holidays,” said a spokesperson for Volkswagen.

By sacrificing time with loved ones to take care of customers, the spokesperson added that van drivers are “the forgotten heroes of the festive season.”