Making the most of New Year’s finishing off holiday returns or maxing out gift cards from your Christmas stocking?

Pro tip: Check holiday hours before heading out to your favorite stores. Many retailers will close early Friday and then will have shortened hours Saturday.

Semi-annual sales, many of which kicked off after Christmas, continue at Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Tory Burch and several other stores. Christmas clearance sales continue at other stores, while supplies last.

Many stores are closing at 6 p.m. Friday including Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Dillard’s, DSW, Costco and Sam’s Club. The two wholesale clubs remain closed on New Year’s Day but BJ’s Wholesale Club will be open New Year’s Day.

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Most grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations and drugstores will also have limited hours both Friday and Saturday.

On New Year’s Eve, stock markets will be open while the bond market closes at 2 p.m.

To help plan your shopping down to the minute, here are New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day store hours for department stores, discount retailers, drugstores and more.

To have had our hands on every single nut and bolt is a huge privilege,” Ian Westworth, one of Parliament’s team of clock mechanics, said in a statement. “It’s going to be quite emotional when it’s all over — there will be sadness that the project has finished, but happiness that we have got it back and everything’s up and running again.”

While the name Big Ben nowadays refers to the entire clock tower, it is actually the name of the largest bell inside the tower, used to chime the hours.

Big Ben– which is inside Elizabeth Tower in London’s Houses of Parliament — has been keeping time in the UK capital since 1859. This is the single biggest repair project in its history, coming with a price tag of £79.7 million (about $107 million).

Earlier this year, crew members working to repair Big Ben discovered extensive World War II-era damage from the Nazi Germany bombing campaign. The damage, which was revealed only when craftspeople were able to take the whole clock apart, added more time and money to the refurbishment project, leading some UK politicians to complain about the cost.

Despite the delays, the team working on Big Ben still managed to complete the repairs in 2021.
That news comes in the nick of time. Today, New Year’s Eve, the clock will sound at noon, 4 p.m., 9 p.m., 10 p.m., 11 p.m. and, of course, midnight.

But there have been a few rehearsals along the way to make sure that everything was in working order first. Some lucky locals may have caught some of these bongs during intermittent tests on December 29 and 30.
Tonight, only the East Dial of the clock — the one that overlooks the Thames — will be lit up. But one of London’s most beloved attractions has returned to its rightful place.

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