Retirement Gifts: Find Thoughtful and Funny Retirement Gift Ideas

There are so many great retirement gift ideas. Browse this list for meaningful, funny and thoughtful retirement gifts.
retirement gifts

Retirement is a Big Deal… So, Find the Best Retirement Gift

Of all the life transitions that merit gifts — graduation, marriage and the birth of a baby — retirement might be the most significant change and the least celebrated. It can therefore be hard to find advice for just the right way to mark this occasion.

To start, you probably want to decide what approach you want to take with your gift, whether it be classic, utility, personal or just a gag. Everyone is different, so try to think about what is important to the person retiring rather than what most people traditionally gift.

If you don’t see something that fits the bill below, try choosing something from the retirement survival kit!

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 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:

The Best Retirement Gifts? 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 the best retirement gifts focus on the fun the retiree will be having.

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.

A Retirement Gift of 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
  • A throw pillow made from their favorite tie or a part of their uniform

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.

A Personalized Gift for Retirement Party

The Internet has made it tremendously easy to personalize everything from t-shirts and coffee cups to books.  How about one of these retirement gift ideas:

  • 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 t-shirt, mouse pad or tote bag.
  • Engrave champagne glasses or a silver tray with the retirement date.
  • Send the retiree away with a gift bag of company swag. Company t-shirts, coffee cups, pens and more could be a fun if not poignant gift.

A Book About Aging Well

Over the last year or so, there have been myriad books written about aging — gracefully or not. One of these might be the perfect gift for a spouse, friend or yourself!

The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and Dr. Elissa Epel: This book will make you reassess how you live your life on a day-to-day basis. It is the first book to explain how we age at a cellular level and how we can make simple changes to keep our chromosomes and cells healthy, allowing us to stay disease-free longer and live more vital and meaningful lives.

The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50, Jonathan Rauch: Research suggests that happiness slumps in midlife. Full of insight and data, The Happiness Curve features many ways to endure the slump and avoid its perils and traps.

I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts About Being a Woman, Nora Ephron: From the writer of some of our most beloved romantic comedies and numerous books comes an uproarious tale about life as a woman of a certain age.

Lifespan: Why We Age — and Why We Don’t Have To, David A. Sinclair: Through a page-turning narrative, Dr. Sinclair invites you into the process of scientific discovery and reveals the emerging technologies and simple lifestyle changes—such as intermittent fasting, cold exposure, exercising with the right intensity, and eating less meat—that have been shown to help us live younger and healthier for longer.

The End of Old Age: Living a Longer, More Purposeful Life, Marc E. Agronin: As one of America’s leading geriatric psychiatrists, Dr. Marc Agronin sees both the sickest and the healthiest of seniors. He observes what works to make their lives better and more purposeful and what doesn’t.

The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100, Dan Buettner: Building on decades of research, longevity expert Dan Buettner has gathered 100 recipes inspired by the Blue Zones, home to the healthiest and happiest communities in the world.

Better with Age: The Psychology of Successful Aging, Alan D. Castel: Better with Age addresses the many myths and paradoxes about the aging process. Although most people think of their later years in terms of decline, they can be one of the best times in life. This book presents the latest scientific research about the psychology of aging, coupled with insights from those who have succeeded in doing it well.

This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, Ashton Applewhite: It’s time to create a world of age equality by making discrimination on the basis of age as unacceptable as any other kind of bias. Whether you’re older or hoping to get there, this book will shake you by the shoulders, cheer you up, make you mad, and change the way you see the rest of your life. Age pride!

Bolder: Making the Most of Our Longer Lives, Carl Honoré: Carl Honoré has travelled the globe speaking to influential figures who are bucking preconceived notions of age, whether at work or in their personal lives. He looks at the cultural, medical, and technological developments that are opening new possibilities for us all. Bolder is a radical re-think of our approach to everything from education, healthcare and work, to design, relationships and politics. An essential and inspiring read for everyone interested in our collective future.

Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old, John Leland: Happiness Is a Choice You Make is an enduring collection of lessons that emphasizes, above all, the extraordinary influence we wield over the quality of our lives.

Borrowed Time: The Science of How and Why We Age, Sue Armstrong: Borrowed Time investigates such mind-boggling experiments as transfusing young blood into old rodents, and research into transplanting the first human head, among many others. It will explore where science is taking us and what issues are being raised from a psychological, philosophical and ethical perspective, through interviews with, and profiles of, key scientists in the field and the people who represent interesting and important aspects of aging.

Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing as We Age, Mary Pipher: Drawing on her own experience as daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, caregiver, clinical psychologist, and cultural anthropologist, Pipher explores ways women can cultivate resilient responses to the challenges they face.

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

Retirement 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?

Funny Retirement Gifts / Retirement Gag Gifts

You want to be careful with funny retirement gifts.  You should know the retiree’s sense of humor and make sure that your retirement gag gift is not too insulting or demeaning. However, retirement gag gifts that make fun of their status as an “old person” can be funny to the right person.

Consider:

Retirement Gifts for Women / Retirement Gifts for Men

These days we don’t make distinctions for women and men as much as we used to.  But retirement gifts should be highly personal — and gender is a big definition of who we are.

Retirement gifts for women might include:

  • Jewelry — maybe a charm bracelet with charms that remind her of her career as well as what she wants to do in retirement.
  • Clothing for her new hobby
  • Anything special for how she will be spending her time.  Maybe gardening glovesa yoga mat or a new suitcase.

Retirement gifts for men might include:

  • A personalized bottle opener
  • A beard trimmer — as opposed to a shaving kit — since they might be more relaxed about grooming in retirement
  • A new wardrobe to replace whatever they have been wearing to work

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.

The Ultimate Retirement Gift?  Something to Help Them Have a Secure Retirement

Studies show that retirement is indeed awesome.  But, it is stressful worrying about money.  Maybe you could gift the retiree with a gift certificate for a meeting with a financial advisor.  Or, at least suggest easy to use online retirement calculators.

The NewRetirement tool was recently named the best retirement calculator by the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII).

Or, choose something from the retirement survival kit!

Retirement Planning Calculator: Give yourself a gift! Find your path to the future you want.


 

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