“The Grinch of Christmas”: Critters already chewing away holiday lights

Shakopee, Minnesota - At first it was pumpkins, now Christmas lights. Squirrels get into holiday festivities and become quite the grinch in some homes across the subway.

“We have three little girls,” said James Rasmussen, “and Christmas is everything. Christmas is family.”

James Rasmussen’s Shakopee home sparkles with lights. He’s hoping they’ll stick with him all season, unlike last year when an owl snapped the holiday spirit, literally.

“All of a sudden they started closing in and I went out and looked and we had an owl that clipped every one of them. I bet there were maybe 50 and I made a nest and we had a little owl under our deck I thought we should just worry about the squirrels but the owls got us down!” Rasmussen said.

Owl makes a nest using holiday lights


Whether the creatures use lights and writing to make nests, sharpen their teeth, or sample wire paint, it’s an ongoing battle for Rob Schlosser. Custom Christmas Lighting started 23 years ago and says it responded to several calls last week about damage to Christmas lights caused by squirrels.

“Squirrels can be really bad,” Schlosser said.

He says there is no magic solution to the problem but there are some ideas people can try to deter rodents.

One is to spray the deterrent on wires and lights. Another is to remove all bird or squirrel feeders from the yard. Some experts suggest coating the wires with a scent that squirrels don’t like, including peppermint oil or apple cider vinegar. Choosing lights that have plastic wrap around the wires is another idea to deter squirrels.

“If you use a larger gauge wire like the C9 bulbs, you are less likely to chew on it because it is bigger, although yesterday I did a job where it was chewed on a larger wire,” he said.

In 2021, squirrels appeared in St. Paul Mears Park forced to cut back on annual lighting show.

“It’s just part of it, you know? Hope it doesn’t happen too often and we’ve been lucky. When it does it’s just Christmas,” Rasmussen said.