If you thought your neighbor's annual holiday light display kicked up a lot of wattage, wait until you get a load of this. Guinness World Records has recognized David Richards of Canberra, Australia, for hanging the most Christmas lights on an artificial Christmas tree. It unseats the previous record-holding tree, located at Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan. According to Guinness, Richards, known in Canberra as the "Christmas Lights Man," incorporated 518,838 individual lights into his gleaming work of art, which resides in the town's downtown area. Locals revelers gathered together on Friday to watch the tree come to life, alongside a Guinness World Records adjudicator, who was there to make things official. The 1.5-meter (almost 5-foot) star has 12,000 light alone, while flashing presents and intricate "baubles" create quite a show throughout. The Peanuts gang would be very into this tree!
This is the third year in a row that Richards has brought Guinness recognition to Canberra at Christmastime. He previously snagged honors for the “largest image made of LED lights” and “most Christmas lights on a residential property." What's driving this bulb-happy fellow, you ask? It's a good-old case of inspiration and action resulting from a terribly sad situation. Richards and his wife, Janean, lost a son in 2002, when he was one-month-old, due to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). As a way of healing from the loss, the couple have become staunch supporters of the charity SIDS and Kids ACT, based in Canberra. They are responsible for raising hundred of thousands of dollars via various fundraisers. These dazzling holiday displays are part of their effort to generate support and funds for the charity. “For a little charity to come out of nowhere and beat the previous record is extraordinary," Richards tells Guinness World Records. "Canberra has taken the world record away from a major theme park in Japan! This has been an enormous undertaking involving architects, electrical and civil engineers, designers, and an army of SIDS and Kids ACT volunteers all donating their time and goods and services." The best of humanity so often comes out of the most challenging situations, doesn't it? Congratulation to Richards...and joy to the world.