This Blinding 502,165 Christmas Light Display Is in Someone's Home

Ready for a big number? 502,165. That's the number of LED lights the family of David and Janean Richards in Canberra, Australia has decked its home in order to clinch the 2013 Guinness World Record for most Christmas lights in one display. Whoa.

This is actually the second time the Richards have earned the title—they first set a record back in 2011 with 331,038 lights, but were unseated last year by the Gay family from Lagrangeville, New York. So in October, the Richards got to work installing a much bigger and brighter spectacle.

Guinness says the display includes more than 31 miles of lights, "520 Lightorama channels controlling a [164-foot], walk through, multi-coloured canopy and an [60-foot] light-controlled tree (all animated and synchronised to music)." And it doesn't come cheap, either. Richard says his electric bill runs about $2,291 each month the lights are up, although a local energy company is covering the cost. Ultimately, the Richards' goal with the display is an altruistic one; they're raising money for a charity called SIDS and Kids ACT, which works to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Whatever the motivation, we're sure Clark Griswold would be very proud. [Guinness via NPR]

Illustration for article titled This Blinding 502,165 Christmas Light Display Is in Someones Home

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Organized Chaos

Here in the States, the neighbors would complain and the homeowner would be forced to cut down on the lights or take it down completely.

There's a house about 30 minutes from me that has put up a great display for the last 4-5 years. They have the computer controlled lights synced with music (that you tune your car's radio to, so there's no noise). They collect donations, both canned goods and monetary. The canned goods go to the needy and the money goes to a local animal shelter. So they do good for the community. They only have two immediate neighbors, one next door and one across the street. Both of those neighbors participate in the display by allowing the homeowner to extend his lights onto their property. But over the summer, others in the neighborhood complained about the traffic it attracts. So this year the display can't be up as long and the city limited the time they're allowed to turn it on. They've also designated the street a one-way street during the time the display is on. A Sheriff's deputy will be on scene (I don't know how often) to ticket anyone going the wrong way. The thing is, in this particular subdivision, the traffic that stops to view the lights isn't really in anyone's way because the other houses in the neighborhood could very easily use one of the other streets that are closer and more accessible to their homes. The only two houses close enough to possibly be bothered by the lights are the two that are participating. And I find it hard to believe that the other residents have to get in & out of their homes so much during those hours that it's a nuisance.