Downing was given the all-clear on his foot injury by the specialist and is now "mixing" with the first team at Bodymoor Heath.
Villa boss Martin O'Neill told the club's website: "Stewart received very good news from the specialist the other day. He went to see him in London and he was very encouraged.
"He is now mixing in and training with the other lads. It's almost like pre-season for him because he's been out since April.
"But it is very, very encouraging. He is a great lad with a great attitude and just wants to do it.
"Hopefully we'll see the best of him before Christmas. Hopefully he has no set-backs.
"He is doing ball-work and joined in with the other lads and next week we can really push him on a bit. It's very encouraging. "