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NY Home Sets World Record for Most Christmas Lights on a Residential Property

The family broke the Guinness World Record for most lights on a residential property — after beating out their own 2014 record this year

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It's enough lights to blind Clark Griswold's neighbors — in fact, it's 25 times as many lights as the beloved Chevy Chase character put on his house.

On cold December nights, the glowing lights can easily warm the hearts of families driving through Lagrangeville in Dutchess County, many of whom were willing to travel far for a big helping of Christmas cheer.

"We have people from New York, Albany, Long Island, out-of-state. We’ve all but three states that we’ve seen license plates for," said John Welsh of the Union Vale Fire Department.

The scene draws hundreds of spectators and brings in thousands of dollars in donations — money that doesn't go to paying the power bill.

The display is hands-down the brightest on the block, and beyond. The family broke the Guinness World Record for most lights on a residential property. The previous record-holders? Themselves, as they beat out their own 2014 record this year.

"We’re all about a family. This is a family project, and we’d like to share this project with the community," said Grace Gay.

The labor of love grew from 600 lights to close to 687,000 bulbs that are set to music. To compare, Clark Griswold said in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" that his display was "25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights."

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Timothy Gay said that his family's real-life show was inspired by his mother, who loved Christmas.

"She decorated the house, she made it a wonderful environment for all eight of her children," he said.

For his daughter's first Christmas, it was Tim’s turn — and has become a tradition that has lasted more than two decades since then, and continues to grow.

By the numbers, on this one property there are 686,811 lights shining bright and linked by over eight miles of extension cords. The family is on track to raise $500,000 for charity in total.

Adding another special layer: This winter wonderland has been the backdrop for 19 marriage proposals. 

"This year we’re hoping to have number 20," said Welsh.

Tim's three children are no longer kids themselves, and have taken lead in the show. They look forward to the hours of planning and physical labor that starts in the fall.

"All the lights high in the trees. That’s me," said John Gay.

The end result: Awe-inspiring lights that inspire generosity.

"Last year, the fire company and other charities here collected about $81,000," said Tim Gay.

For the last decade, the Union Vale Fire Department has collected funds here to help people in the community. 

"Often you’ll have a house fire and people will have nothing but their pajamas on, so we’ll give them cash on the spot," Welsh said.

This family project that remains a light burning bright, long after the holiday season is gone.

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