Guinness Christmas Light Record Broken Twice
This time of year, many of us decide to break out the Christmas lights, wrap a few strings strategically around our homes and enjoy the magic of the season. Usually, this task is not incredibly calculated and takes maybe an evening or two to complete. But, when you are part of the family that broke the Guinness Book World Record for the most lights used on a residential property, your planning process may take a little bit longer than two days. December 1995 was when it all began. Timothy Gay had just become the proud father of his daughter Emily and wanted to do something special to commemorate the occasion. Having always loved the Christmas holiday, Timothy decided to decorate the outside of his home with 600 Christmas lights that year. As their family grew, so too did their Christmas lights, and soon the ERDAJT Holiday Light Display was officially born. ERDAJT is a combination of the Gay children’s names. Proceeds raised during the light extravaganza are given to several children’s organizations and charities, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the Ty Louis Campbell Foundation.
By 2012 the Gay family was using over 400,000 lights in their display. This marked the first year that they broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the most lights used in a residential area. According to the ERDAJT website, they plan their annual display throughout the year. They've estimated that it takes over 2000 hours to create the presentation.
Mr. Gay will not disclose the amount he spends on electricity. According to him this is a figure he and he alone is privy to. While he is mum on the figure, Timothy has expressed that since switching to LEDs the electricity cost is only a fraction of his expenses. This is good news since this year the Gay Family broke the Guinness Book World Record again for the most lights used on a residential property. This time, they took it to the max, using 1,032 computerized channels and 210 total songs. Another major difference for this year’s display was the sponsorship the Gay family received from Ritz Crackers. Ritz contributed nearly 200,000 lights to the Gay family which helped bring them to the record-breaking total of 601,736 lights.
As you can imagine the electrical load is extensive. Gay explained that using incandescent lights with the same size display would require seven times the energy, would suffer from many more failures and wouldn’t be nearly as pretty. “LED is like high definition versus incandescent being standard-definition-no comparison,” he explained.
Only a small section of the lighting display does not use LED lights, the older wire frame animals and stick trees. The design has had numerous retrofits, but Mr. Gay said once the family creates a display element they plan on keeping it.
Soon, the ERDAJT Holiday Light Display will be safely dismounted by the Gay family and placed neatly in the basement and garage storage. Tear down is easier when everyone can help out, so the display is disassembled before New Year’s Day. During the process, tangling is not an issue because, “I teach all helpers simple standard work when wrapping cords, girls come first, so female to male,” Mr. Gay explained.
Until then, you’ve got a few more weeks to feast your eyes and ears on a record breaking light show. How many Christmas lights did you use this year to decorate? Drop us a little line and let us know in the comments section or pop over to our Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Instagram.
Visit ERDAJT's Christmas Light Display to see a preview.