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Maintaining memories: repairing Christmas lights at Barnes Jewelry

Antique Christmas lights on display at Barnes Jewelry
Posted at 5:50 PM, Dec 29, 2023
and last updated 2024-01-01 10:55:37-05

HELENA — At Barnes Jewelry, not only are there seemingly infinite clocks available for purchase along with jewelry and various oddities, the staff can fix pretty much anything.

"This store does a lot of things. It's not just watches clocks and jewelry, it could be a sewing machine could be a toaster or walking sprinkler," owner and horologist Marvin Hunt told MTN News.

Around this time of year, Hunt pulls out something special for the holidays. He fixes up and maintains antique Christmas lights, even holding on to some of the same ones his grandparents had.

Marvin Hunt shows some of his collection
Marvin Hunt fixes Xmas lights
Marvin Hunt demonstrates how he would repair an old light that's burned out by replacing the filament.

“These Christmas lights have been my fantasy my whole life. The reason I collected them is because when I was a kid I got underneath the Christmas tree and moved all the lights around. And these bulbs get hot and my fingers got burned. So my mother forbid me to touch these lights," Hunt recalled.

Now, Hunt keeps his passion alive by repairing these lights that are largely no longer in circulation; “Every year you get a new memory, you know, and then it brings back a lot of old memories too, you know, especially when you pull out a set of Christmas lights that was on your grandparents tree and you're still using it."

If you have any antique lights around your house that could be repaired, Hunt said he'd be happy to take a look.

Barnes Jewelry is located on Last Chance Gulch in downtown Helena and is open Monday - Friday 10AM-5:30PM.

Barnes Jewelry in downtown Helena
Antique Christmas lights on display at Barnes Jewelry