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If you're wondering when the holiday season kicks off in Dallas, check the windows at Neiman Marcus downtown. If it's just a few expertly dressed mannequins and accessories in front of a white backdrop, you're early. If, on the other hand, you see a grove of expertly decorated trees around which live models pose, you're right on time for Dallas City Lights.

The annual festival that takes over Main Street with bright bulbs, garland and plenty of spirit is the unofficial kickoff to the holidays in downtown Dallas. This year, Dallas City Lights turns downtown into a flickering, twinkling scene on Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. 

Catch family friendly activities from 6 to 10 p.m., with Santa Claus arriving to turn on the lights at 7. There will be vendors, live entertainment, and the Neiman Marcus crawl tube — a PVC tunnel through which children can get a behind-the-scenes view of the window displays at the downtown designer emporium.

This year you'll also find Neiman Marcus window displays of Christmases past in both Pegasus Plaza and Belo Garden.

Find out more, including a complete line-up of events, on Downtown Dallas' website.

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