Credit: © Copyright ITV plc 2013

Already experiencing Downton Abbey withdrawals now that the Season 4 finale has come and gone in the United Kingdom? Us, too, but never fear. Julian Fellowes still has a few surprises in store with this year’s Christmas Special.

An annual tradition, the Christmas Special has always featured some of the most important plot developments in Downton’s history. The Season 2 special was when Matthew (Dan Stevens) finally proposed to Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), and of course, just a year later, it was the Christmas show that had viewers sobbing into their eggnog when Matthew died in a tragic car accident.

So when can we expect the next installment to arrive? For folks over in the UK, look for the two-hour special to air at 8:30 p.m. on December 25. American viewers, of course, have to wait a little longer, seeing as Season 4 doesn’t even begin until January 5.

To help pass the time, we do already know a few details of what to expect. Most importantly, death is said to avoid Downton this year, though we still plan to stress-eat our way through a pile of Christmas cookies. The storyline is also not set at the holidays, unlike Season 2’s, and will not split up the servants and the family. That said, it does look like the cast left Highclere Castle to film at least part of the special. Photos from the last days of shooting show Downton characters milling around a University of London campus.

We’ve also gotten a sneak peek at the cast’s Christmas attire. Featured in the lineup are a few new faces including Cora’s brother, Harold Levinson (Paul Giamatti), whose legal trouble sent his brother-in-law Robert (Hugh Bonneville) to America earlier this season. Harold will be accompanied by his mother, Martha (Shirley MacLaine). We can hardly wait to hear what the Dowager (Maggie Smith) has to say about so many Americans running around her family’s ancient home.

What do you hope to see happen in the Christmas Special? Sound off in the comments below.

Elisabeth Kramer is an Assistant Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Downton Abbey expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!