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Australian Dad Lights Up Canberra with World’s Largest Christmas Lights Display

When Australian lawyer David Richards started decorating his family home for Christmas four years ago, little did he know that the simple pastime would snowball into a huge passion. The father-of-three is now a self-proclaimed ‘crazy Christmas lights guy’.

Impressed with the display of lights at his home last year, Richards was invited to transform Petrie Plaza in Canberra’s Central Business District into an epic Christmas spectacle this year. And Richards has not disappointed – this year’s display consists of a whopping 120 kilometers of lights and over one million light bulbs. Petrie Plaza now features a 3-D image constructed of lights, covering more than 41,000 square feet, in the shape of three large Christmas presents.

The spectacular display has won Richards a place in the Guinness Book for the third time. He won the record last year when he decorated his home with 502,165 lights, and once before in 2011. “Christmas lights really get people into the festive spirit,” Richards told Guinness. “We decorated our home for years, and people came from everywhere to see our lights. This year, who knows how many people will come along?”

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Australian Family Set New Guinness Record with 502,165 Christmas Light Installation

We love it when the holidays are around the corner; there are just so many odd stories to talk about! Our first Christmas story this season is here: an Australian family who put up over half a million Christmas lights in their Canberra home and set a new Guinness World Record.

This isn’t the first time father-of-three David Richards and his family have done this. In 2011 they set the record after putting up 331,038 lights. Last year a New-York family beat them with a whopping 346,283. The Richards wanted their title back so badly that this year they’ve installed 502,165 lights – that’s 31 miles of wire. They also have a glowing reindeer and loud music to boot.

Some of the Richards’ neighbours are very upset and haven’t spoken to the family since 2011. But most of them love the dazzle and come to visit from several miles away. David says, “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.”

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Shijiao – Where Christmas Lights Go to Die

Ever wonder what happens to Christmas lights once you toss out into the trash at the end of every holiday season? Turns out a lot of things are made from them, including slipper soles.

Shijiao, in China, has been designated as the world’s capital for recycling old and unusable Christmas tree lights that are thrown away by Americans each year. There are at least nine factories in this small town that process large volumes of tree lights. Yong Chang Processing is one of them, the company recycles 2.2 million pounds of lights each year. Overall, the factories of the town go through over 20 million pounds. Shijiao is known for its cheap labor costs and low environmental standards. These factors make it an ideal place for a recycling zone. It has been so for around 20 years now. Needless to say, the burning of the wire from the lights causes huge amounts of black smoke to rise up in the air, which is clearly visible from the fields around town. The process adopted is the fastest way to extract copper from rubber and plastic, and hence there isn’t any alternative.

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Croatian Boasts 1.2 Million Christmas Lights Display

Zlatko Salaj, a 67-year-old Croatian, has created a ‘Christmas Story’ for himself. Not a story to tell, but one to show the world. His Christmas Story is actually his home, which he decks up in lights and colors every year around the holidays.

The former telecommunications engineer owns a country estate in Grabovinca, located in central Croatia. The entire estate is decorated at this time of year. Thousands of visitors come by to view the spectacle created by Salaj and his family. When he started this practice in 2002, Salaj had a modest 70,000 light bulbs that were put up on all the shrubs and trees across his 17-acre estate. When people asked him how many he would put up the next year, his reply was a 100,000. In this way, the lights and decorations kept growing in number. This year, the number has upped to 1.2 million Christmas lights. Not just ordinary ones, he has lights shaped like Santa Claus and reindeer. The festive spirit of his decorations is contagious and attracts children and adults alike from all over the region.

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American House Lit Up by One Million Christmas Lights

For most of us, Christmas lights are just another tradition, but for Faucher family, in Delaware, it has become a real passion. For 23 years they have been decorating their home with one million Christmas lights that cover every inch of their property. The lights are accompanied by other joyful Christmas ornaments that spread through out the garden, like snowmen, candy canes, elves or toy soldiers.

But this beautiful, over-the-top display of Christmas spirit is definitely not cheap. According to  “House Logic”, a homeowners website, the bill could reach a staggering $82,320, if the lights used are common 5 watt C7 bulbs that are left on for four hours every night, for 30 days. If they use LEDs, they “only” have to pay a $10,680 electric bill, while proudly owning an environment-friendly installation.

The Christmas lights tradition is an ancient one. Even in the times when Christians were persecuted, people chose to light candles as a symbol of celebrating Christmas. It was around the year 1500 that Christmas trees were decorated with lights for the first time, in Germany, but quickly spread throughout the world.

It was only in the 17th century the Christmas lights were brought to the outside of the house, as people started decorating their homes and gardens.

Although the tradition of decorating with Christmas lights became very popular after the 1950’s, it’s only fair to say that the Fauchers took it all to another level with their 1 million lights installation. Every year, they enjoy the admiration of not only their neighbors, but also that of people from around the country, who come to admire the Fauchers’ magical display of Christmas spirit.

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