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Australian family sets world record with half a million Christmas lights

AP

An Australian family has reclaimed their Guinness World Record by stringing up more than half a million Christmas lights around their suburban home.

Guinness World Records official Chris Sheedy confirmed Monday that the Richards family of Canberra set the record for Christmas lights on a residential property with 502,165 twinkling bulbs.

The family first entered the famous record book in 2001 with 331,038 multicolored lights. But they were trumped last year by a family in LaGrangeville, New York, who illuminated their home with 346,283 lights.

The Richards’ home with its lights on more than 50 km of wire in suburban Forrest will be open to the public from the weekend to raise money for charity.

David Richards — husband of Janean and father of Aidan, 13, Caitlin, 10, and Madelyn, 6 — said most of his neighbors supported the display. But some have not spoken to him since the last record was set.

“I have always loved Christmas. Having the Christmas lights with the community coming in and sharing it is a time when you get to know people you probably should know better, I guess,” he said.

He said while he bought the lights, a local power company will donate the estimated 2,500 Australian dollars ($2,300) worth of electricity that will illuminate them for the next month.

Richards vowed to retire from Christmas lights competition after his 2011 record. While he will not rule out a defense of his latest record, he said he will need a generator to get any more electricity for his home.