How Do You Celebrate Someone’s Retirement?


Someone you know, a coworker, friend or family member, is retiring soon and you would like to celebrate this special occasion. But how do you celebrate someone’s retirement?

You celebrate someone’s retirement by:

  • Plan a retirement party,
  • Give a speech,
  • Give a presentation about the retiree’s career highlights,
  • Create a (funny) video
  • Create a photo or scrapbook
  • Organize a flashmob,
  • Give a thoughtful gift,
  • Give a card with best wishes,
  • Give a (company) award.

So now you know a little bit more of what you can do to celebrate someone’s retirement. Let’s dive in deeper on how you can make a retirement celebration extra special.

How To Celebrate Retirement

When it comes to celebrating someone’s retirement, you have one goal: celebrate this milestone in their life so they feel appreciated and loved. And there are different ways on how you can achieve that.

How you want to celebrate someone’s retirement depends on what you like to do, what other people have planned, your relationship with them and most importantly what you think they will appreciate.

A retirement celebration can be small or big. How big or small is totally up to you. Always go for positive vibes, show respect, and humor goes a long way.

1) Plan A Retirement Party

Organizing a retirement party is a great way to celebrate someone’s retirement. This milestone is a life celebration, so why not have a party.

You can organize a retirement party at the office, at home or a different venue.  You can plan a brunch, lunch, drinks, bbq, dinner, pool party, dance party, or a combination. Make sure to invite the most important people in the retiree’s life. So that’s always a mix of family, close friends, and colleagues. And if you want to make it extra special, you can keep it a surprise for the retiree.

If you don’t know the retiree that well, ask around to find out from friends or family members if the retiree appreciates getting a retirement party. If you’re close to the retiree, you also want to ask around and make sure nobody else is planning a similar retirement party on the same date.

Here’s a checklist to plan a retirement party:

  • Make a budget
  • Pick a date
  • Make a guest list
  • Pick a venue (home, office, restaurant, event venue)
  • Choose a theme (dress code, costume party, black and white theme)
  • Send out invitations
  • Gather decorations and props
  • Choose entertainment and activities
  • Select Food and drinks
  • Inventory on Speeches and toasts
  • Pick a Photo/ Videographer (if that’s what you want)
  • Get a thoughtful gift

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If you like to learn more about how to organize a retirement and get more ideas, you can the following helpful articles:

2) Give A Speech

Giving a speech to celebrate someone’s retirement is a great way to show they are appreciated. You can do this on their last day at the office, during a retirement party, in the last meeting or another appropriate occasion.

Writing a good speech can be hard. How can you summarize someone’s whole career in a couple of sentences? Well to help you here is a list of topics you can address in your speech to the retiree:

As a coworker:

  • Memories you cherish together
  • Their contributions to the job/ company
  • Lessons you have learned from them
  • Their achievements and successes
  • What you’re going to miss about them
  • What you wish for them in the future
  • (Funny) stories and anecdotes
  • Thank them
  • Congratulate them

As a friend or family member:

  • Memories you cherish together
  • Reasons why you’re proud of them
  • Lessons you have learned from them
  • Their achievements and successes
  • What you wish for them in the future
  • What you are looking forward to now he/ she is retired
  • (Funny) stories and anecdotes
  • Thank them
  • Congratulate them

Want to give the best retirement speech ever? Make sure to read my article 13 Tips On How To Give The Best Retirement Speech.

3) Give A Presentation About The Retiree’s Career Highlights

To celebrate someone’s life or career, you can give a presentation and show highlights of their life and achievements. The most common way in the past is to make a powerpoint presentation with bullet points, text, and photos.

But there other ways to give a goodbye presentation like using, video, photos and tell funny stories and warm memories. And you can ask multiple people to speak to make the presentation even more memorable. And using humor is one of the key points for a good and fun goodbye presentation.

4) Create a video

Nowadays, we record videos all day every day. So creating a video with coworkers, friends, and family, is a creative and easy way to celebrate someone’s retirement.

Here are a couple of video ideas you can do:

  • Record a flashmob
  • Create a music video to his/ her favorite song
  • Create a video with (funny/ sincere) messages
  • Create a video where people give a toast
  • Create a movie trailer (with Imovie app)
  • Create a message video with people holding white pieces of paper with text at different places
  • Create a video where people answer the same 3 questions about the retiree

Some of these videos are easy to create. Just send out an email or text to family, friends, and coworkers to ask if they can record a video message on their phone and send it back to you. You can collect all the videos and edit it into one beautiful retirement video.

Other videos are a bit harder to organize because you have to get a lot of people together or even rehearse to get it right. But creating these videos are also a lot of fun too. I created a lot of videos like flashmobs, music videos, and trailers for weddings and retirements or friends and family. So I know it’s a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth seeing the look at someone’s face when you show it to them.

If there is a videographer within the family or at work, then it’s going even to be more professional. But recording videos with your smartphone can also look very professional. You can edit it with apps like Imovie and Splice (ios) and Quick and FilmoraGo (android) or on your Microsoft computer with Windows Movie Maker. Or use the more professional editing software like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere. And the more props you use and the more fun you’ll while creating this video, the better it looks.

Example of a music video you can create for the retiree

5) Create A Photo or Scrap book

Another great way to make someone in retirement feel special and loved is to create a photo or scrapbook. Life is all about making memories, and a great retirement gift is a collection of all these memories in one place.

You can ask friends, family, and friends to email you to share their best memories, funny anecdotes and great stories about the retiree. Along with pictures as well so you can make a scrapbook.

If you have a ton of amazing pictures, you can choose to make a beautiful photo book of the retiree’s life/ career. And give it to them on the last day in the office or at the retirement party.

Some of the best retirement gifts are not the most expensive ones but the most thoughtful gifts. Life is not about having great things, but it’s about collecting memories with great people in your life. And if you can produce a retirement gift down memory lane, you will definitely make someone’s day, month or year. And for the retiree, it’s a valuable item because he/ she can look back every now and then and reminisce.

6) Organize A Flashmob

An entertaining way to celebrate someone’s retirement is to organize a flashmob. Yes, it takes a bit of work to organize and rehearse, but it’s so much fun and rewarding when it all goes well.

So if you don’t know what a flashmob is, let me explain. A flash mob is an organized routine of a group of people dancing together to surprise someone. It usually starts with 1 person and as the song goes on more and more people start dancing to the same routine. And the punchline is when you finish as if nothing has happened. So continue walking, chatting, or working as you did before the flashmob started. But you can also end with a sign, let the retiree join in or other any other creative way you can think of.

You can organize a flashmob in the office on the last day, in the canteen, parking lot, on the street, during a retirement party. You can do it anywhere you like as long as you bring your ghettoblaster with music, and you’re aware of the location limitations. You are good to go.

And you don’t have to invent the choreography. You can find many videos on YouTube with flashmob instructions and choreography to different songs. The only job you have is to make other people enthusiastic about the idea and start planning.

Here is a checklist on how to organize a flashmob:

  • Get enough enthusiastic people to participate
  • Pick a location
  • Search on YouTube for flashmob choreography to a song you like.
  • Send the YouTube video to all participants with other instructions like who starts the flashmob, second group, third group, etc. And include location, time, and date. Be very clear with your instructions.
  • Start rehearsing
  • Arrange props and costumes
  • Ask someone to record it on video
  • Do the flashmob
Dance Instructions for Flashmob

7) Give A Thoughtful Gift

A good retirement gift is a thoughtful gift. So this can be a memory collection like photo or scrapbook as I mentioned earlier. But a thoughtful gift is also a gift that represents the retiree’s interests, hobbies, and future plans. A gift that the retiree will like or need for his or her upcoming retirement plans. Like travel gift, hobby gear, relaxation gift, a retirement gift basket to enjoy in retirement. A personalized gift can make a retirement gift even more special.

Best Retirement Gift For Him

The BroBasket is the an awesome retirement gift for him. You can create an amazing (custom) gift basket for him with his favorite alcohol and snacks. From Whiskey, Vodka, Tequila, Scotch, Gin, Rum to (craft) Beer, and engraved gifts. Check out all the BroBaskets and boozeless Gift Baskets

Get men a gift they really want - Their Favorite Booze!

Best Retirement Gift For Her

A Wine Gift Box from The California Wine Club is a great retirement gift for her. You can gift a Wine Box or a monthly subscription with delicious and handcrafted award-winning wines from (small) family wineries.

With retirement, it’s not expected to give a gift, but it is good manners. So you don’t have to give everyone who is retiring a gift. A card with best wishes is in many cases enough to show you care. But if you’re invited to a retirement party, it’s best to bring a gift. Unless directed not to bring a gift on the invitation. And if you’re planning a retirement party it’s nice to gift a retirement gift as well. You can do this individually or as a group.

One Of The Coolest Retirement Gifts: Masterclass

When someone is retiring you want to wish them the best in retirement. You hope they make the most of their time in retirement and wish them lots of fun and happiness. Well, you can put these words into a retirement gift and gift the gift of Masterclass.

MasterClass is an online education platform with the world’s most successful and famous teachers: Gordon Ramsey, Christina Aguilera, Usher, Hans Zimmer, Stephen Curry, Carlos Santana, Jimmy Chin, Serena Williams, Dan Brown, etc. 

Masterclass offers classes (for any skill level) taught by the best in the world: from cooking, acting, writing, poker, music, sports to science, and so much more.

You can gift them one single Masterclass or an All-Access Pass to all the masterclasses on the platform. Check out all the Masterclasses available here.

8) Give A Retirement Card With Best Wishes

In a lot of cases, a retirement card with a personal message and best wishes is enough to celebrate someone’s retirement. Especially if you don’t know the person that well or you don’t see each other that often. It’s a small gesture that will be appreciated by the retiree.

You can handwrite a card individually or as coworkers create one big card with messages from all the colleagues.

Here are a couple of key points for writing a retirement card:

  • congratulate the retiree
  • acknowledge their hard work
  • add personal details about your relationship
  • write about what you appreciate
  • add a memory or anecdote to make it more personal
  • well wishes for the future

Examples of happy retirement wishes to write in retirement card:

  • Congratulation on your retirement. We’re going to miss you. You’re one of a kind and unreplaceable in this office. Enjoy your well-deserved retirement!
  • Happy retirement! There is a beautiful world waiting to be explored. I wish you the best on your next adventure!
  • Congratulations on extending your weekends with 5 days! Now every day is a Saturday. Happy retirement!
  • Young at heart. Slightly older in other places….. Congratulations and enjoy your retirement!

Read more: What To Write In A Retirement Card

9) Give A (company) Award

Retirement is a huge achievement in life, and we like to hand out awards on any occasion, so why not give an award for retirement? This will make retirement even more memorable to the retiree, but also sets a tone for other people at your company.

It’s very common to give an award to someone who is retiring. And here are some ideas:

Within your company, you can make it a tradition to hand out an award when someone is retiring. Employees want to feel cared and appreciated and with giving an award just shows another way how much you value your employees. And you want to give an award that doesn’t end up in the attic. You want to give the retiree an award that they can put on their desk, mantelpiece, or other places of honor in their house.

But you don’t have to be a company to hand out an award to a retiree. You can do it as family, friends, or coworkers. And maybe have some fun with it too. Like a plague with the Best Employee of the Year, World Record Holder Sleeping in a Meeting, World’s Best Dad, for example. Think about memorable or funny moments where you can give an award for.

Other ways to celebrate someone’s retirement:

  • Organize a quiz about the retiree
  • Bake or order a retirement cake
  • Hold a transition meeting
  • Organize a roast
  • Plan a prank

How To Wish Someone A Happy Retirement

When you celebrate someone’s retirement, you want to say the right things to wish him/ her a happy retirement. So here are a couple of examples to wish someone a happy retirement;

  • Congratulations on your retirement. I wish you good health, happiness, and success for this new and exciting next chapter in your life!
  • Happy retirement! May you live your best life from here on out!
  • Congratulations! If there’s one advice, I can give it’s this: Start listening to your heart; it’s the best gift you can give yourself when you retire.
  • Congrats! May all your retirement dreams come true, and may your life be filled with so much joy and happiness. Happy retirement!
  • Best wishes on your retirement, Cheers to being it even better than you ever imagined.
  • I’m wishing you a long, happy, and healthy retirement. Congrats!

Read more: What To Say Instead Of Happy Retirement

Recommended Articles

I wrote many articles about retirement that might be helpful for you. A few of the most popular articles are;

Related Questions

What do you wear to a retirement party? What you wear to a retirement party depends on what is mentioned in the invitation. If you’re not sure what to wear you can ask the retiree or call the person on the invitation and ask directly what the dress code is. If you are not comfortable placing a phone call, you can send an email. If it’s an office party, then your regular office clothes are sufficient. Or dress to the occasion keeping the following things in mind: the theme, location, time of day and how well you know the person. Read more: How To Dress For A Retirement Party

How do I celebrate my father’s retirement? You can celebrate you’re father’s retirement with planning a retirement party, giving a speech, organizing a father and son road trip, fulfill a bucket list adventure together, or giving a thoughtful retirement gift. Check out more ideas in my article: How To Celebrate Your Fathers Retirement

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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