15 Ideas: How To Celebrate Your Parents Retirement


Your parents are retiring soon, and you would like to celebrate this special occasion. Don’t look any further. In this article, you’ll find 15 ideas on how to celebrate your parent’s retirement. 

Ways to celebrate your parent’s retirement:

  • plan a retirement party
  • give a gift
  • give an experience gift to enjoy together
  • send them on a holiday
  • hold a speech
  • plan a roast
  • create a video
  • create a (photo) scrapbook
  • hold a quiz
  • bake a cake
  • go on a family trip
  • help to find new hobbies
  • help plan their retirement days
  • fulfill a bucket list dream
  • surprise them

Let’s dive deeper into these ideas so you can create the best retirement celebration for your parents. 

Thank you for supporting Retirement Tips and Tricks: Please note that some links in this article are affiliate links. When you make a purchase using these links, we may get a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

#1 Plan a retirement party

Celebrating retirement with a party is one of the most popular ways to celebrate retirement. Maybe your parents haven’t planned a party yet, so you can step in and do all the organizing for them. Or you can surprise them with a retirement party at their home, your home, or a different venue. Or perhaps they need a little assistance from you to help them plan their retirement party.

You can organize a small family gathering or plan a full-on dinner and dance party for co-workers, family, and friends. That’s is entirely up to your parent’s wishes and your or their budget. And if you don’t know where to start, here’s a retirement party checklist.

Retirement Party Checklist:

  1. Make a budget
  2. Choose the type of celebration (lunch, dinner, dance-party)
  3. Pick a date
  4. Select venue
  5. Create guestlist
  6. Choose a theme
  7. Send invites
  8. Do an inventory on speeches or surprises
  9. Prepare a speech, toast or fun activity
  10. Organize party extra’s (photo booth, party favors, fireworks, etc.)
  11. Get a gift
  12. Do a last (sound) check and finishing touches
  13. Enjoy the party!

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If you like to celebrate your parent’s retirement with a party, then this article might be helpful: How To Host a Retirement Party: Step-by-Step Guide

#2 Give a thoughtful gift

The best retirement gifts are the gifts that match their personality, hobby, or plans for retirement. 

So if your parents are planning to travel in retirement, you can give them a travel-related gift. For example, you can give a utility they need for their RV, a destination guide, or travel gear. Check out: The 50 Best Retirement Travel Gift to get more inspiration.

You can also give them a gift related to their hobby, a personalized gift, a gift basket, or the most traditional retirement gift: a watch. Because giving a watch symbolizes time: “let’s spend more time together” or “have the best time in retirement.”

To help you out to find the best retirement gifts for your parents, I’ve written several articles about the best retirement gifts out there:

#3 Give them an experience to enjoy together

Life is all about making memories. And retirement is the moment to spend more time with your loved ones and make even more meaningful memories. And as a gift for your parents, you can create a new memory by giving them a fun experience they can enjoy together in retirement.  

Examples of fun experiences to give your parents:

  • Cooking class
  • Gardening class
  • Date-night with dinner and movie
  • Tickets to a musical show
  • Tickets to a comedy show
  • Spa and Sauna Treatment
  • Couples massage
  • Museum tickets
  • Subscription to a gym or yoga class
  • Tickets to a sports game
  • Ticket to a concert
  • Dance lessons
  • Skydive or paraglide experience
  • Theme park tickets to enjoy with grandchildren
  • Hot-air Balloon ride
  • Family Photoshoot

You want to make sure your parents enjoy their retirement in the best way possible. That they have something to do that they enjoy very much. Well, often retirees like to learn something new and explore new hobbies and passions in retirement. And a great gift for that is giving the gift of Masterclass.

MasterClass offers a wide variety of online masterclasses taught by the best in the world. From a cooking Masterclass by Gordon Ramsey, Tennis Masterclass by Serena Williams, or a writing Masterclass taught by Dan Brown, etc. And you can give your parents an All-Acces Pass to all the Masterclasses on the platform so they both can learn something new or get better at their hobby. In my opinion, it’s the number one best gift for retirement.

#4 Send them on a holiday

When you like to spoil your parents, and you have the money for it, then you can send them on a well-deserved holiday. This way, they have something to look forward to in retirement and have the opportunity to relax totally, unwind from work, and enjoy time in retirement together. 

Holiday ideas to give your parents:

  • Caribbean or Mediterranean cruise
  • Sailing trip
  • Road trip with a (rented) RV
  • City trip to a famous city in Europe
  • Backpacking in Asia or South America
  • A weekend Las Vegas
  • A weekend wine tasting in Napa Valley
  • To their favorite holiday destination
  • A trip down memory lane: (birthplace, former places of residence, college, high school)
  • A trip to far-away family members

Read more: 20 Amazing Vacations And Trips For 60-Year-Olds

Best Travel Recourses To Book Your Trip

We travel full-time, so we put together a list of the best and most reliable booking recourses to book your trip in retirement. It can save you a ton of money and it will make your planning less stressful. We use the following recourses all the time so we can highly recommend them.

  • Rentalcars.com: For the best car rental deals, I can highly recommend Rentalcars.com. It’s the world’s biggest online car rental service, where you can compare rental car prices from over 900 companies. It can save you a ton of money that you can now spend on fun things to do on your trip. Check out Rentalcover for better coverage and cheaper car rental insurance.
  • Booking.com: For the booking the best accommodation, I can highly recommend Booking.com. They have over 800,000 properties worldwide including hotels, apartments, and hostels. You get the best price guarantee and free cancellation on most rooms. It’s very easy to use and offers a wide selection for every type of budget. You can see scores about cleanliness, location, WiFi, comfort, facilities, and value for money from previous customers to you get a better impression of the accommodation.
  • AirBnB.com: We love using Airbnb while we travel. They connect homeowners who rent out their homes/apartments/ rooms to travelers like you and me. With Airbnb, you’ll get all the comforts of feeling at home while traveling. And you stay at less touristy parts of a destination and get great local travel tips from your host. And often Airbnb is a lot cheaper than the cost of a hotel room. Create an account on Airbnb here.
  • CruiseDirect.com: If you would like to go on a cruise in retirement you should check CruiseDirect for amazing cruise deals around the world. They give the best price guarantee, have flexible payment plans and no booking fees.
  • Tripadvisor.com: World’s best travel platform to get reviews on the best restaurants, attractions and hidden gems worldwide. But also to book cheap flights, hotels, attractions, and experiences.

Please note that these links are affiliate links. When you make a purchase using these links, we may get a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

#5 Hold a speech

You can hold a speech to celebrate your parent’s retirement. You can do this at a retirement party or another social gathering to show your parents how much you appreciate them. 

You can say a couple of words during a toast or create an entire speech. This can be heartfelt, very serious or filled with jokes. Whatever matches your personality and the relationship you have with your parents. 

In the speech, you can mention:

  • highlights of their career, 
  • successes & achievements, 
  • stories about their personality, 
  • tell jokes, 
  • funny anecdotes 
  • or anything else that will make your parents feel loved and celebrated. 

Before you prepare your speech, it’s best to know beforehand where you’re going to be speeching and who your audience is. So, you make no mistakes with the content and tone of your speech. You want to celebrate your parents and not unintentionally embarrass them or hurt their feelings. 

To perfect the speech for your parents, read my article with 13 tips for the best retirement speech here

#6 Plan a roast

Planning a roast is the perfect way to celebrate your parents if dark comedy and making fun of each other is their thing. 

When you’re planning a roast for your parents, it’s best to ask a couple of more people to accompany you in the roast. Preferably from different areas in their life: co-worker, friend, family member. Especially if the room is also a mix of different people. This way, your parents and the audience will get to watch a full-on roast from every aspect of their life. Everyone will be more engaged, and that will only add to the experience and quality of the roast.  

Tips for a good roast:

  • Invite a maximum of 4-5 people to roast your parents.
  • Create an area, so your parents are the center of attention and visible for everyone in the room.
  • Estimate how funny the roasts will be and plan the order of speakers from funny to the funniest. So the funniest person is the last one.
  • Give each person a maximum of 5 minutes speaking time to keep it short, sweet, and interesting for everyone. Preferably a roast should not take longer than 20 minutes.
  • If necessary, mention the no go areas to all the speakers beforehand. Sometimes very sensitive subjects are best to exclude from a roast.  
  • Make sure your parents have the last word if they want to. 
  • Do a soundcheck beforehand and make sure that you can hear the speaker loud and clear from all areas in the room.

#7 Create a video

Another way to celebrate your parent’s retirement is by creating a heartfelt or funny video. Which you can show them in private, social gathering or at their retirement party.

You can create a video together with your brothers, sisters, and grandchildren. Or also have other people join in: co-workers, family, and friends. And this can be very easy to do: 

  • send out your video idea to people, 
  • people create videos on their phones/ tablets
  • they send the videos back to you, 
  • and you collect all of it and edit it into one video for your parents. 

Retirement video ideas:

  • compilation of messages & well wishes for retirement
  • music video of their favorite song
  • a flashmob
  • compilation of their career highlights
  • compilation of photos with music
  • create a retirement “movie” trailer
  • edit of people’s answers to 3 or 5 of the same questions about your parents: favorite memory, most funny moment, what they love about your parents, etc.

#8 Create a (photo) scrapbook

A great retirement gift is a collection of memories. And to celebrate this major milestone in your parent’s life you can create a scrapbook with memories of their life.

It can be a book with photos from them in their childhood leading up to the moment of now. Or a scrapbook with messages, pictures, and other things about memorable moments in their life. From funny anecdotes, notes, to stories and photos. And you can ask other family members, friends, and co-workers to join in and give it collectively.

Some of the best retirement gifts are not the most expensive gifts but the most thoughtful ones. So, if you can produce a retirement gift down memory lane for your parents, you will definitely make their day, month, or year. And be an item they can browse through every now and then in retirement.

#9 Hold a quiz

You can organize a quiz to celebrate your parent’s retirement. It can be a fun and more engaging alternative to a speech and a different way to put your parents in the spotlight. It can lead to funny and surprising moments. 

You can create a quiz where your parents have to answer questions about their life under the pressure of their family, friends, and co-workers watching. Or the family, friends, co-workers of your parents have to answer questions about your parents. 

The questions can be work-related, personal, their plans for retirement or quiz questions about their job, achievements, co-workers, friends, and family. Retirement is a celebration of life so you can incorporate all sorts of questions about life. Whether it’s about the closing chapter or the new chapter in their life. 

And if you need inspiration, you can base the set up of your quiz on popular TV shows: Jeopardy, Who wants to be a Millionaire, Family Feud, Wheel of Fortune, etc. 

#10 Bake a cake

If you love to bake. And everyone around you loves your bakeries as well ;). Then baking a (huge) retirement cake or cupcakes is your way to celebrate your parent’s retirement. You can bake the cake for the offices your parents work or bake the cake for the upcoming retirement party. 

Read more: 90+ Retirement Cake Saying Ideas

#11 Go on a family trip

Perhaps, your parents are very much looking forward to spending more time with you and their grandchildren in retirement. And going on a family trip together can be the best way for them to celebrate their retirement. 

A retirement party can be expensive, so why not put that money into a family trip? On the family trip, you can still do things to celebrate their retirement: hold a speech, show a video, give a gift, etc. Or your retirement gift can be this family trip together. 

Ideas for a family trip:

  • Weekend at a Theme Park
  • Boating at a nearby lake
  • Visit a National Park (Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, etc.)
  • Cultural trip to Europe
  • Relax in Hawai
  • Go on a Caribbean Cruise
  • Explore New York
  • Visit Chicago
  • Go to Mexico
  • Visit family far away

Read more: 20 Best Retirement Trips In The USA

#12 Help to find new hobbies

A lot of retirees struggle with boredom and don’t know how to spend their time in retirement. They feel the loss of fulfillment in their lives after they stopped working. And they don’t know how to find fulfillment again and where to look for new and exciting hobbies. 

It’s best to start retirement with a plan on how you want to spend time in retirement. This way, the chances of feeling bored or getting into a sad spiral are far less. And you can help your parents by finding a great hobby that they’re going to be excited about in retirement. 

You can accompany your parent’s in their search for activities in retirement or educate them on all the possibilities that are out there. And show them how to find new hobbies. Sometimes a bit of extra help from a family member can push them in the right direction towards a hobby that gives them a fulfilling feeling. But how to find a new hobby? Below are some tips that can help you out.

Hobby ideas for your parent’s retirement:

  • Gardening
  • Start a business
  • Golfing
  • Swimming
  • Arts & Crafts (painting, knitting, etc.)
  • Taking care of a pet
  • Dancing
  • Playing Games (cards, board games)
  • Join a club via Meetup
  • Puzzling
  • Hiking
  • Yoga
  • Model Building
  • Photography

Read more: The 30 Best Hobbies In Retirement

#13 Help plan their retirement days

Retirement is an exciting chapter in many people’s lives. But many retirees find it also a bit scary and feel disorientated when they suddenly have all the time in the world. The loss of structure, routine, and purpose can overwhelm them, and they feel lost and don’t know how to plan their retirement days. 

If this is something you foresee happening, you can give them a retirement present by helping them and guiding them into the transition of retirement. It can be your way of celebrating their retirement. And what better retirement gift is a gift that helps your parents to an enjoyable and purposeful retirement.

Because to be successful in retirement means that your parents need to find fulfilling replacements for their work routines. They need to find happiness in (new) interests, relationships, and activities by creating new routines.

You can help your parents by creating healthy daily routines and show them how to structure their life in retirement. This can be sharing exercising routines, apply them for gym-membership, share healthy meal recipes, or invite them often to social gatherings. Because a combination of daily physical, mental, and social activities is the key to a healthy and happy retirement.

But you don’t want your parents to do activities to fill up time and be busy. You want your parents to get fulfillment in life: to have a purposeful retirement. And the lack of purpose is what many retirees struggle with. But how to find your purpose?

Figure out your passion that will lead to your purpose. 

You can help your parents have happiness in their retirement by guiding them to their passion and purpose.

Questions you can ask your parents to find their passion:

  • Passion is energy. Feel what excites you.
  • What is a topic you can read 500 books about?
  • What’s the thing you never get bored of? 
  • What is something you love to talk about?
  • What do you love to do without getting tired?
  • What is a stress reliever for you?
  • What gives you satisfaction, joy, and happiness?

Examples of purposeful activities in retirement:

  • Do volunteer work
  • Become a foster grandparent
  • Become a mentor, tutor or coach
  • Take a class
  • Get involved in the community

Helpful and inspiring books you can give your parents for retirement:

#14 Fulfill a bucket list dream

Retirement is the time to do all the things your parents dreamed about. Do your parents have a bucket list? Or do they have that one big dream they’re always talking about? 

A great way to celebrate your parent’s retirement is to fulfill one of their bucket-list-items. Or giving something that makes them a step closer towards their biggest dream.

It doesn’t have to be an over-the-top expensive experience. If you don’t have the budget for it, you can get creative. Often the thought counts more than the gift itself. 

And if your parents don’t have a bucket list yet, you can create one together. And find a way to fulfill one of them as a retirement celebration. So, if you need inspiration for your parent’s bucket list, here are 101 ideas

Read more: 25 Great Retirement Bucket List Gift Ideas

#15 Surprise them

With a surprise, your parents feel more intense feelings of happiness or joy than they normally would. So, giving a surprise will heighten the feelings even more. And there are many ways to do that. And here are some ideas.

Retirement Suprise Ideas:

  • Organize a surprise retirement party
  • Show up on their last day at the office with cake, champagne, a gift, etc.
  • Family visit they don’t expect
  • Send them a surprise gift at home or the office
  • Surprise them with a video
  • Invite family members or old friends they haven’t seen in a long time.
  • Room or house make-over
  • Car make-over/ decorate their car on the last day of work
  • A treasure hunt that leads to a retirement gift
  • Billboard or poster in the city, the town they live in to wish them a happy retirement.

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Kirsten Veldman

I'm Kirsten. In 2017, my boyfriend Léon, and I decided to retire from the rat race to travel the world and work and live location independently. With my articles, I want to help people enjoy and celebrate retirement in the best way possible.

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