His most wonderful time of the year

Elf and Andy Ettinger... Twins?

Have you ever seen the movie, “Elf?” It’s a story about a man who thinks he is an elf, but one day finds out that he is really a human who has just been raised at the North Pole as part of Santa’s workshop. When he heads out in the “real world,” he brings with him his abundance of Christmas joy and enthusiasm...his pure child-like awe at everything Christmas. In fact, his mantra is “The best way to spread holiday cheer is by singing loud for all to hear.”

Now this may be “just a movie,” but Eagle Grove has their very own Elf-like Christmas enthusiast. His name is Andy Ettinger.

He says Christmas is “his most wonderful time of the year” for many reasons. In fact, he would celebrate it every day of the year if he could...and this year, he just so happens to be doing exactly that - in his second grade classroom. The theme this year is famous places, and he, by no surprise, picked the North Pole - but more on that later.

Ettinger says his love of Christmas began when he was just a kid helping his mom and dad decorate the Christmas tree. It was so beautiful he never wanted it to be taken down. In fact, there’s a video out there lurking around of him in what he believes to be first or second grade that shows his reaction to the day the Christmas tree came down.

“I was screaming and crying,” he said with a little chuckle. “I didn’t want that tree down.”

As he grew, Ettinger made sure to do more and more decorating each year. He started with lights on the insides of the windows. Then he put them outside. Then more lights. He eventually put up so many lights that he blew a fuse. Living in Manson at the time, as did his grandma, she invited her Christmas-loving grandson over to decorate her house as well.

“Me and grandma went all out,” he laughed.

Describing it, there were even lights on the roof...and oh the lawn ornaments. Ettinger is proud to say that he and his grandma took first place in the Manson decorating contest all five years they held one.

“When I got my own home in Manson, I would go big, too,” said Ettinger, proud of his passion. “I pulled a Clark Griswold...I put lights on everything except the roof, and only because that was tin...it took me six hours to put up the lights, but it was worth it.”

For the full story, see this week's Eagle Grove Eagle. Subscribe by calling 1-800-558-1244 ext 122 or email Deb at circulation@midamericapub.com or by clicking here.