An exclusive prequel minisode and trailer for the special - which will be called 'The Snowmen' - was aired as part of last night's BBC Children in Need.
The episode will introduce Jenna-Louise Coleman as The Doctor's new companion Clara.
Other images released include Richard E Grant as the villainous Doctor Simeon and familiar characters Vastra, Strax and Jenny, who are there to support The Doctor in his latest adventure.
Writer and executive producer Steven Moffat teased details of the new episode in a chat for the BBC Doctor Who blog.
He said: "The Doctor at Christmas is one of my favourite things - but this year it's different. He's lost Amy and Rory to the Weeping Angels, and he's not in a good place: in fact, he's Scrooge.
"He's withdrawn from the world and no longer cares what happens to it. So when all of humanity hangs in the balance, can anyone persuade a tired and heartbroken Doctor that it's time to return to the good fight? Enter Jenna-Louise Coleman…"
Matt Smith added: "For this year's Christmas Special we have the wonderfully villainous Richard E Grant as Doctor Simeon. As well as lizards, Victorian assassins and deranged warriors from the future all return to convince The Doctor that he should board the TARDIS again and save the world.
"Add to that Jenna-Louise Coleman and so begins the Christmas Special 2012. I hope everyone enjoys it!"
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