Retirement Gift Ideas

Find a Thoughtful Gift for the Retiree

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There are so many great gift options for a retiree. Browse this list for meaningful ideas to give to a retiree at a retirement party.

The Classic Retirement Gift

The most classic of all retirement gifts is a gold pocket watch.

The watch stands for quality craftsmanship – symbolic of the retiree's years of service - and is supposed to be an actual and metaphorical reminder of the passage of time.

These days the utility and significance of the pocket watch may not or may not warrant the expense.

Better Utility for the Retiree but Similar Significance as the Pocket Watch

Playing on the ideas of a passage of time, you may want to consider other time-related gifts for the retiree:

  • A New Cell Phone. Most people nowadays use their phone as their watch. A phone has the extra added benefit of enabling the retiree to stay in touch with former colleagues.
  • A Novelty Clock: There are so many different clock designs nowadays. You can likely find something clever that matches the retiree's design sensibility or interests.
  • Is the retiree a birdwatcher? How about a clock that chimes popular bird calls on the hour.
  • Is the retiree looking forward to setting their own schedule? How about a clock made from chalkboard – they can do what they wish with time!
  • Is the retiree into design? Find a unique clock for their particular aesthetic.
  • Does the retiree enjoy the outdoors? How about a specialized wristwatch for diving or running?

Something for a New or Existing Hobby

The whole point of retirement is that the retiree will be able to spend additional time at leisure. So there could be no better gift than something really fun.

Popular gift ideas for popular pastimes might include:

  • A new set of golf clubs
  • A specialized fishing pole
  • Cooking, tennis or other lessons
  • A Kindle reading device or a bookstore gift certificate
  • A gift certificate to a crafts store

Customize your gift to the retiree's interests or some new hobby that you think they would enjoy doing with their new found leisure time.

Something Related to Their Work

It may be particularly thoughtful to give the retiree something that commemorates the work that they did.

This idea will require some creativity and effort on your part. However, examples might include:

  • A framed map of a salesperson's territory
  • A framed listing of their major accomplishments on the job
  • A trophy engraved with their name and dates of service
  • A bronzed or mounted item that was significant to the work they did
  • A wrench for a plumber
  • A pen or keyboard for an executive
  • The nozzle from a firehose for a firefighter

Grandchildren Fun Basket

Study after study has shown that the most anticipated benefit of retirement is the ability to spend more time with grandchildren.

If you know the retiree has grandchildren, you might put together something special for them.

  • A basket of board games: Pull together Uno, Apples to Apples, Dominos and other favorite board games into a basket. The retiree and grandkids are sure to enjoy the fun.
  • Give them Tickets to a special event: Perhaps the retiree would enjoy tickets to an amusement park, theater performance or sporting event that they could enjoy with their grandchildren.
  • Activity Books: Books like "The Dangerous Book for Boys" and "The Dangerous Book for Girls" offer hundreds of ideas for fun activities with children and have been wildly popular. The retiree is likely to appreciate the suggestions for fun things to do.

Personalized Retirement Gifts

The Internet has made it tremendously easy to personalize everything from tshirts and coffee cups to books.

  • Photo or Memory Books: Sites like Shutterfly and Ofoto enable you to easily create custom books. You can create a photo book with pictures and memories of the retirees working years.
    It may be nice to write up their work history, funny stories and memories
  • Put a special picture of work colleagues on coffee cups, playing cards, a tshirt, mousepad or tote bag.
  • Engrave champagne glasses or a silver tray with the retirement date.
  • Send the retiree away with a gift bag of company schwag. Company tshirts, coffee cups, pens and more could be a funny if not poignant gift.

A Book with Special Significance

You can never really go wrong giving a book as a gift.

  • A coffee table book involving their favorite pastime or location would surely be appreciated.
  • A first edition book important to your industry or otherwise related to work would be thoughtful.
  • Search Amazon for books containing the words "Before You Die" and you will find hundreds of books listing all kinds of things the authors think you should accomplish before you die.
    While perhaps slightly morbid, the books spark great ideas for spending the last phases of your life.
  • A selection of cookbooks could be fun.
  • A poetry anthology

Gifts to Keep Them "Young at Heart"

Fun gifts to keep the retiree young at heart might include:

  • A selection of candy that was popular when the retiree was a teenager.
  • A razor scooter, a skateboard or a cruiser bicycle are usually used by kids, but they are great fun for anyone and a good way to zip down to the corner store.
  • How about a gift basket that includes a Frisbee, yo yo and other fun or goofy stuff?

Gag Gifts

While you will want to be careful not to be insulting, gag gifts that make fun of their status as an "old person" can be funny to the right person.

Consider:

  • Magnifying glasses
  • A cane
  • An empty piggy bank
  • Adult diapers
  • "I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up" service or device
  • Pepto bismal
  • Etc…

Other Special Ideas – Keeping in Touch

  • If possible, perhaps your retirement gift could be an expense-accounted luncheon once a month or year with the retiree and special friends from work.
    The company might genuinely benefit from the retiree's now outside- the-box thinking and the retiree is sure to appreciate the lunch and stimulation.
  • If your company has a yearly retreat or holiday party, it might be nice to give the retiree a standing invitation to these special events.

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