How To Celebrate Retirement At Work: 18 Creative Ideas


Your boss, co-worker, or employee is retiring soon, and you would like to celebrate this achievement. But what is a great way to celebrate retirement at work? 

Ideas On How To Celebrate Retirement At Work:

  1. Host a retirement party
  2. Give a speech
  3. Create a video
  4. Host a roast
  5. Prank the retiree
  6. Order a cake
  7. Give a gift
  8. Do a flashmob
  9. Hold a (special) meeting
  10. Give an award
  11. Give a career’s highlights presentation 
  12. Have 1-minute toasts
  13. Create a scrap/ photo book
  14. Host a quiz
  15. Do a fun game
  16. Sing a song
  17. Write a retirement card
  18. Pop a Bottle of Champagne

Now you know a bit more, but you might want to know more about these ideas and how to execute them perfectly to make the retirement celebration at work more memorable. So, continue reading. 

1) Host a retirement party

Organizing a retirement party is the most popular way to celebrate retirement at work. You can organize a small gathering with close co-workers or organize a big event when the retiree is a very special and valuable person within the company. Either way, a retirement party will always be appreciated by the retiree no matter how big or small. 

There are all sorts of retirement parties you organize at work. For example, you can organize a nice gourmet lunch on the retiree’s last day, organize an after-work cocktail party, a dinner party, or a dance party till late. You can invite spouses, choose a fun theme, and plan all sorts of fun ways to honor the retiree, for example, hold a speech, give out an award, etc. 

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2) Give a speech

Giving a speech is a great way to honor the retiree. And there are many occasions to give a speech: 

  • at a retirement party, 
  • on their last day, 
  • during one of the last meetings the retiree attends,
  • etc.

Giving a speech to the retiree as an employer is also a great way to show your staff that you appreciate them. Taking the time and effort to give a speech will be very much appreciated by the retiree. But also his or her co-workers. It can motivate them to work harder and be more engaged. 

It totally depends on the relationship you have with the retiree and the audience that will hear your speech on what kind of content to share. Perhaps, you want to keep it formal because that’s the culture at work. Or you can make your speech funny because you and the retiree have become friends, and humor and jokes are appreciated at work.

Read more: 13 Tips On How To Give The Best Retirement Speech.

3) Create a video

You can create a retirement video together with co-workers to celebrate the retiree’s retirement. And then choose a great time to show it to him or her, like at their retirement party, their last day or meeting. Whatever feels appropriate. And make sure to make as many co-workers enthusiastic about participating in the video. It will make the video more memorable for the retiree and so much more fun to make too. 

Nowadays, it’s very easy to create a fun video. And there are two main ways to produce this. You can either choose to organize one moment to create the video with co-workers together at the same time. And therefore, you need to hire a videographer or ask a co-worker to film and organize a location to shoot. Or you ask co-workers to film themselves with their phone/ tablet and collect all the videos to edit it into one retirement video. Make clear instructions to make things easy for you and your co-workers.  

Another way is a combination of these. For example, when a co-worker can’t attend the video shoot, you can ask them to send in a video that you can edit into the main video later. Sending videos is easy and for free via wetransfer.com. And you can edit with programs like Final Cut ProiMovie, or Blender. To help you out, here are a couple of fun retirement video ideas.

Retirement Video Ideas

  • Music video: create a fun music video on the retiree’s favorite song. Get creative by using fun props, different locations, and set-ups. 
  • Interviews: you can ask co-workers to answer the same 3-5 questions about the retiree that you can edit into a montage. These questions can be funny or sincere. 
  • Flashmob: you can organize a flashmob and film the whole thing. You can make a combination of a flashmob and music video. 
  • Messages: let co-workers record messages and well wishes for the retiree and create a montage of all these videos.
  • Slideshow of photos: collect photos of the retiree and great moments from co-workers and edit it into a nice slideshow with music and perhaps even texts. 
  • Movie Trailer: get creative and reenact a famous movie trailer or movie scene into a retirement movie trailer. 
  • Career highlights: when you have a lot of video footage of the retiree’s career highlights and great moments, you can create a montage of it. 
  • Capture the retirement party: you can film the retirement party to give as a great memory to the retiree later. You can either ask someone to film or collect videos from all the co-workers attending the retirement party and make a montage.

4) Host a roast

Why not make a bit of fun of the retiree with a good roast. If humor is a thing at work and you know the retiree can appreciate a good roast, then go for it. It can be a lot of fun to organize and a lot of fun for co-workers and the retiree hearing all these jokes. Watch several roasts on Youtube to get a bit of inspiration and get creative with your co-workers. 

You can choose to surprise the retiree with a roast. Or you can let him or her be part of it so they can prepare a good roast speech for the end as well. 

Tips for a good retirement roast

  • Ask a maximum of 4-5 people to roast. Preferably a variety of people, so jokes come from different areas. 
  • Create a nice roast decor, and place the retiree in the center of it. So everyone can see him or her.
  • If possible, plan the order of speakers from funny to the funniest. Preferably, you to save the best for last.
  • Maximum of 5 minutes speaking time per roast to keep things short and interesting for the audience.
  • If necessary, discuss the no go areas beforehand. A bit embarrassing is part of a roast, but making someone very uncomfortable should not be the goal. 
  • Let the retiree have the last word. He or she can take this moment to hold a (quick) speech or end with a (prepared) roast as well.
  • Do a soundcheck beforehand and make sure everyone in the rooms can hear the roasters properly. When nobody can hear it, nobody can laugh about it. And that’s a big part of all the fun.  

5) Prank the retiree

Retirement is the last chance to prank the retiree at work, so perhaps you might want to take advantage of this occasion and organize one big last office prank. For a good prank, you have to know their “weaknesses” so you can tap into that for a great prank. Also, make sure the retiree can appreciate a good prank. 

6) Order a cake

A celebration without cake is just a meeting. So, you can’t go without a retirement cake when you want to celebrate retirement. You can order a cake or bake one yourself. You can customize the cake or cupcakes with the retiree’s favorite quote or picture on it. Or use a popular retirement saying.

Make sure the text and cake reflect the personality or retirement plans of the retiree best. For example, if the retiree has travel plans in retirement, you can order a travel-themed retirement cake and put a travel-themed cake saying on it. 

Read more: What To Say On A Retirement Cake? 93+ Retirement Cake Saying Ideas

7) Give a retirement gift

Giving a nice retirement gift is also a great way to celebrate someone’s retirement. And the best retirement gifts are gifts that the retiree either can enjoy in retirement or keep as a memory. So a retirement gift needs to match the retiree’s personality, hobby, or plans for retirement. 

You can collect money with other co-workers to buy a bigger gift for the retiree. Or give a retirement gift yourself if that’s what you prefer. If you’re not sure how much money you should spend on a retirement gift, read my article How Much Money Should You Give For a Retirement Gift?

I’ve researched many hours to find the best retirement gifts. So when you’re looking for a great retirement gift read these articles:

8) Do a flashmob

Surprising the retiree with a flash mob at work is a fun way to celebrate their retirement and also put them in the spotlight for a moment. You can choose the retiree’s favorite song and create a dance routine, but that can be a lot of work.

The easiest way to organize a flashmob is to choose a nice song where someone else on Youtube already made a choreography for a flashmob. Because there are so many Youtube Flashmob Choreography tutorials out there, so why not use them. Then you only have to send an email with the video link and a couple of instructions to your co-worker, and it’s organized.

You can choose the moment for the flashmob at the start of their last day at work, at the end of their last workday, or it’s even possible during their retirement party.

9) Hold a (special) meeting

To commemorate the retiree, you can hold a special meeting at work. This is a great idea when nothing else is planned, and you still want to celebrate it without making a big deal out of it. You can honor the retiree at one of their last meetings or organize a special meeting just to celebrate this achievement in their life.

During the meeting, you can thank them for their years of hard work with a toast, speech, or presentation. And you can even give them a special award or a nice retirement gift. 

10) Give an award

You can give the retiree an (official) award as a thank you and retirement gift to keep as a memory. Someone who is retiring will appreciate a gesture that acknowledges their hard work and dedication over the years. Letting a retiree know that their work and contributions didn’t go unnoticed is some of the best things you can do to celebrate their retirement at work. You can give an official award as a company, or a special award from co-workers. 

Award Ideas That You Can Engrave

It’s also a funny idea to make up an entirely new award, for example: 

  • “Best Pranker” or 
  • “Employee of the Decade” or 
  • “Man With The Best Company Quote” or 
  • “Best Creator of…” or 
  • whatever applies to the retiree’s personality best.

11) Give a career’s highlights presentation 

Another way to celebrate retirement at work is to give a presentation of the retiree’s career highlights. With a presentation, you sum up all highlights, anecdotes, and great moments in the retiree’s career. And show how much the retiree is appreciated within the company. It can be a very formal presentation that you can present at one of the last meetings. Or you can do it less formally and include a couple of jokes while you do the presentation at a retirement party or last day at the office.

12) Have 1-minute toasts

To celebrate the retiree’s retirement, you can have 1-minute toasts, where co-workers can share their favorite stories, anecdotes, and give the retiree well wishes for the future. You can organize this during a moment at the office retirement party, while cutting the retirement cake or when you pop-up a bottle of champagne on their last day at work. 

It can be a very informal way for everyone to say goodbye and show their appreciation to the retiree. He or she will appreciate this gesture very much and feel loved once they live their work for retirement.

13) Create a scrapbook/photo collage

One of the most thoughtful gifts you can give for retirement is a gift down memory lane. So a great way to celebrate retirement is by giving a scrap or photo book they can keep as a memory and can look into every time they want in retirement. Years of work also means years of great memories that can be bundled into a book to cherish forever.

You can ask co-workers to send in their favorite photos with the retiree over the years and create a great photo collage on canvas to give the retiree. 

Or get more creative and ask besides to send in photos also to also write something down: favorite memory, funny anecdote, well wishes, or a personal message. You can collect al these memories from co-workers and create a nice scrapbook to give the retiree. 

14) Host a quiz

You can host a (funny) quiz to celebrate retirement at work. It can be part of a retirement party but is also possible to organize on their last day at work. 

You can create a quiz where the retiree has to answer questions about their life under the pressure of their co-workers watching. Or co-workers have to answer questions about the retiree and see who knows the retiree best. And you can use all sorts of props and decorations to make it fun. And ask the funniest co-worker at work to be the quizmaster.

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 the retiree’s life. And for inspiration, you can check out popular Quiz TV shows: Jeopardy, Who wants to be a Millionaire, Family Feud, Wheel of Fortune, etc. 

Have a nice prize for the winner of the quiz. Or use this occasion to give the retiree their retirement gift. 

Check out: Quiz Buzzer and Who Knows The Retiree Best Game

15) Do a fun game or activity

Another way to celebrate retirement at work is to organize a fun game or activity. It can be a great ice-breaker for the start of the retirement party at work or just a fun game to do on the last day of work.

Retirement Game and Activity Ideas

  • Pictionary – Invent your own Pictionary game that applies to the retiree and the company. Check out how to play Pictionary here.
  • Caption this – Create a photo presentation from different photos of the retiree. And everyone in the office has to create the funniest captions. Read the funniest captions later out loud. 
  • Cut the Tie  – Cutting the tie can make being retired official. From that moment on, he is officially retired. Create a moment at work where you can cut the tie so the retiree is officially retired. 
  • Smash the Clock – Not setting your alarm clock is the symbol of not having to work anymore. So you can let the retiree symbolically smash a clock. You can buy a simple alarm clock here. But make sure to put it in a pillow so no one gets hurt. 
  • Scavenger Hunt – Create a scavenger hunt at work. You can create all sorts of clues that link to the retiree (to personalize it). And you can split all the co-workers into teams to do the scavenger hunt. Or you can let the retiree do the scavenger hunt by himself. It can be a great way to lead him or her to their retirement gift. 

To make things easier for you, these are ready to go (retirement) games:

16) Sing a song

Celebrate the new retiree with a customized song with special lyrics. Choose the retiree’s favorite song and adjust the lyrics or choose a popular celebration song where you can personalize the lyrics to. 

You print out the song lyrics and hand them around at work so everyone can sing along. And the best time for a song can be any time of day. For example, at the retirement party, start or end of their last day or any other moment where you want to celebrate the retiree’s upcoming retirement at work.

17) Write a retirement card

Sometimes giving a retirement card with well-wishes for the future is more than sufficient to celebrate someone’s retirement at work. This mostly happens when you don’t know the retiree well and/ or is from another department or work location. 

A written retirement card can also be more than sufficient when you attend a retirement party where it’s mentioned not to bring any gifts. However, you still want to do something about their retirement celebration, and writing a retirement card is an excellent way to acknowledge this milestone in their life. 

A retirement card can be attached to a retirement gift or can be sent or given on its own. You can choose to write a personal retirement card or write a big retirement card together with other co-workers. 

Read more:

18) Pop A Bottle of Champagne

Champagne is the symbol of a celebration so opening up a bottle of champagne is the perfect way to celebrate retirement at work. You can create a moment during the day or at the end of the workday to pop the champagne in honor of the retiree’s upcoming retirement. It can be a very simple gesture that will be highly appreciated. And you can use the occasion when drinking champagne to do a toast, give a retirement gift or hold a speech. Make sure to have a non-alcoholic drink available for people who don’t drink alcohol.

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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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