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Australian family sets new world record with over half a million Christmas lights

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Nov. 24, 2013.: People look at The Richards home illuminated with miniature lights in Canberra. (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 multi-colored 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 31 miles 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 hadn't 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 would donate the estimated $2,300 in electricity that would illuminate them for the next month.

He had vowed he had retired from Christmas lights competition after his 2011 record. While Richards won't rule out a defense of his latest record, he said he would need a generator to get any more electricity for his home.