downton abbey george clooney lady grantham
In the first sneak peek video from the "Downton Abbey" Christmas sketch, George Clooney sees Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern). Nick Briggs/Carnival Film and Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE

Forget the countdown to Christmas. We’re counting the days until George Clooney appears on “Downton Abbey.” The award-winning actor joined the cast of the British hit series to film a sketch for ITV’s Text Santa, a charity initiative. ITV has released the first stills and a sneak peek video of Clooney’s appearance. There is also a still of Jeremy Piven, another American actor joining the “Downton” cast for the short. Take a look below:

Those stills, however, are just behind-the-scenes shots, and they don’t really give away any spoilers. The clip from the episode is a little more revealing, but there’s less than 10 seconds of “Downton Abbey” footage in the sneak peek video. Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern) is seen first and walks up to a man while he is turned around.

“Dearest, Lord and Lady Carlisle have asked us over to dinner tonight,” she says.

The man turns around and reveals himself to be George Clooney. If Lady Grantham is calling him “Dearest,” she's probably mistaking him for Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) … unless she and Clooney’s character are very close. McGovern previously teased the idea of a possible kiss between their characters.

“It was special for me because there was a scripted kiss, so I was a bit shocked to see his wedding go forward after our professional day together!” McGovern told the Daily Beast last month.

Watch the clip below:

Fans will have to wait to see exactly what Clooney does, but they can win a piece of his “Downton Abbey” sketch before it even airs. The clapper the actors are pictured with above is signed by several cast members and up for auction on eBay. Proceeds will benefit Text Santa’s chosen charities, which include the Teenage Cancer Trust, Guide Dogs, WellChild, Marie Curie, Alzheimer's Society and Together for Short Lives.

ITV airs the "Downton Abbey" sketch in the U.K. on Dec. 19. PBS has not announced if the short will air in the U.S.

What do you think Clooney's relationship with Lady Grantham is? Sound off in the comments section below!