Tree covered in over 500,000 Christmas lights shatters world record

Did the Griswold family move to Australia?

A family’s yard in Forrest, a suburb of Canberra, draped in more than a half-million Christmas lights has set a new world record.

Jenean and David Richards’ yard features a canopy of LED lights extending beneath a large tree wrapped in more lights. The house, bushes and other trees on the property are also given the twinkly treatment, covered in icicles, candy canes and reindeer. In total, the Richards family used 502,165 LED lights that if laid out, would stretch for more than 31 miles.

David Richards began setting up the display in October and with the help of friends and family, the light show was ready to kick off the holiday season.

Although the display only uses energy-efficient LED lights, the show adds a hefty chunk to the family’s energy bill, and is raising the concerns of environmentalists. It costs about $2,300 each month to power the display but luckily, a local renewable energy company has volunteered to cover the costs.

But even though the energy expenditures and light pollution might be an obvious concern, you can’t argue with the Richards family’s real goal behind the display: to raise money for a children’s charity.

The family will fundraise for the SIDS and Kids ACT, a charity that works to reduce sudden and unexpected death in children.

“The charity is very close to our heart,” David Richards said to The Canberra Times.  “We lost a child and SIDS looked after us many years ago.”

In 2011, the family set a new world record with their display of over 300,000 lights and raised $78,000. This year, they hope to raise over $100,000.

“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.”