Australian family breaks world record for Christmas lights

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

children Xmas lights
Children enjoy the winter wonderland of lights.

The Guinness World Records organization, which tracks everything from the fattest person alive to the fastest plane, started off its holiday celebrations by flipping the switch on 502,165 Christmas lights. This massive electrical display broke the previous world record for Christmas lights on a residential property (where someone lives), which was held by the Gay family from Lagrangeville in New York when they turned on 346,283 bulbs in 2012.

The new record breakers, David Richards and his wife Janean, actually held it before the Gay family in 2011 with 331,038 lights, so now they’ve reclaimed the title by going above and beyond!

So, did the Richards family just do this for the riches and the glory? Hardly. They raised over $78,000 from tens of thousands of visitors to the house, some of whom even flew in from overseas. The funds will benefit families who’ve lost children from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which is when an infant dies unpredictably and for unknown reasons.

Specifically, money will go to a charity called SIDS and Kids, and its CEO Elizabeth Tobler said, “SIDS and Kids… is delighted for David and his family. It is a remarkable effort and record. The display has been given a new look and design and I encourage people to once again come out and enjoy the lights. All monies raised will be returned to the ACT community through bereavement counselling and safe sleeping education services.”

Even though David swore off ever trying to break the record again, when he found it had been broken in 2012, he decided to shatter it once and for all by going more than 150,000 bulbs above the Gay family. He said, “Suddenly I had twice the drive. I’d be raising more money for SIDS and Kids and winning back our record at the same time. With over half a million lights on our house, breaking the current record by over 150,000, I hope we’ll hold the record for longer than we did last time and raise even more money for SIDS and Kids. On the downside, my neighbors will think I’m just a tiny bit crazier…”

Images courtesy of Guinness World Records.