An Australian family has just claimed their second Guinness World Record by stringing over half a million Christmas lights across across their property. Lawyer David Richards and his family started decorating in October, which makes sense when you realize that they’ve strung 31 miles worth of lights. The total number of bulbs? 502,165 — and no, the Guinness Book of World Records didn’t feel the need to verify that number by counting them one by one. They used a combination of sales receipts and counting the number of strands to reach the total.
While the Richards family has tried to be eco-friendly by using LED lights, the display still devours a whopping $2,291 worth of electricity each month. Their local utility company is working with them to offset the cost using renewable power, so at least the display isn’t doing any serious damage to the environment, apart from a little light pollution at night.
Richards and his family had set their previous record in 2011, with around 330,000 lights. After having their record snatched away in 2012, they decided the only solution was to make it incredibly difficult for another family to top them by stringing as many lights as physically possible outside their home. Hopefully they’ve achieved their goal and no one tries to hit a million lights next year.
As garish as the display might seem to those of us with more subdued holiday tastes, it turns out the Richards are using all the publicity to raise money for a good cause. They’re using their holiday light show to collect money for families struggling with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), a condition which claimed one of their own children 10 years ago. In 2011, they managed to raise $78,000 to hire counselors for families who had lost a child. This year, they hope to earn as much as $100,000 for charity.