40 Fun Ways To Honor A Retiring Colleague


Your colleague is retiring soon, and you want to organize something special to honor them in a fun, creative or meaningful way. And that is why you might wonder how to honor a retiring colleague.

Well, you’ve come to the right place. I’m an expert in retirement celebrations and created a list with 40 fun ways to honor a retiring coworker in this article to help you create a memorable moment for the retiree. Ready? Let’s get started right away!


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1) Organize A Surprise Party

Organize a surprise party for your retiring colleague to show how much they are appreciated. This is a classic and festive way of showing appreciation and making them feel special. Consider decorating the party area with balloons, streamers, and other decorations and providing food and drinks for everyone to enjoy.

You could also include activities like speeches, fun retirement party games, or a dance floor to keep the party lively and engaging. The surprise element adds a fun and exciting element to the celebration. You organize the party with coworkers and consider inviting the retiree’s family and friends to make it a truly special occasion. If you want more ideas to make it extra special, make sure to read my article 40 Ideas That Makes A Retirement Party Fun!

2) Create A Retirement Tribute Video

Create a tribute video message for the retiree, featuring colleagues, friends, and family members who share their congratulations and well wishes. This is a thoughtful and heartfelt way to celebrate the retiree’s achievements and create lasting memories. You can show it at the retirement party, last meeting or another occasion that is most suitable. And you can send the link to the retiree so they can rewatch it repeatedly in retirement.

With VidDay, you can easily create a retirement tribute video without any skill or effort so that everyone and anyone can create a beautiful retirement tribute video. You don’t need to download an app, you don’t need editing skills, and VidDay does all the work for you. And also as many people can join in to commemorate the retiree just by sending a link where they can upload their video. Sounds great, right?! Check out their website for more information:

3) Decorate Their Workspace

Decorating your colleague’s workspace is a simple and easy way to make their last days at work more festive. Use balloons, streamers, and other decorations to create a cheerful and celebratory atmosphere. Be sure to personalize the decorations to reflect your colleague’s personality and interests.

I’ve researched hours for the best retirement decorations you can use. So if you’re looking for fun retirement decorations, continue reading my article: Amazing Retirement Decoration Ideas.

4) Play Retirement Party Games

A funny way to honor your retiring coworker is to play a couple of fun games during the retirement party.

A game can be a great icebreaker and make the guest of honor and all other guests happier and more entertained. It creates positive energy and funny moments, which will be the reason why everyone won’t forget this moment soon.

And most importantly, the retiree feels honored in the most fun and memorable way. It makes any celebration (big or small) special and unique. Something reminisce about for a long, long time…

To help you out, I have created a printable Retirement Party Game Bundle with 10 amazing party games, which you only need to download and print. That is how easy it is.

Only $15

5) Create A Personalized Photo Book

Compile a photo book that includes memorable moments, funny snapshots, and heartfelt messages from colleagues. This is a great way to celebrate the retiree’s accomplishments and remind them of their positive impact on the team. And a great keepsake for them to cherish in their retirement. Consider adding captions and notes to the photos to make the album more personal and meaningful. To organize it, reach out to coworkers for photos and messages, and use a website like Shutterfly or Mixbook to design and order the book.

6) Create A Retirement Slideshow

Create a slideshow of your colleague’s best moments at work and present it at their retirement party. This is a great way to highlight their contributions to the company and show how much they will be missed. Include photos, videos, and anecdotes to make the presentation more engaging.

If you like to do this for your retiring colleague, I can further help you. Continue reading: 50 Ideas For An Amazing Retirement Slideshow (& Examples)

7) Send A Company-Wide Email

Send an email to the entire company highlighting your colleague’s contributions and wishing them well in retirement. This is a simple and thoughtful way to show your appreciation and ensure that everyone in the company knows about your colleague’s retirement. Encourage coworkers to respond to the email with their own messages of appreciation.

Example Of Company-Wide Appreciation Email

Subject: Celebrating [Retiring Colleague’s Name] and Wishing Them Well in Retirement

Dear [Company] team,

I am writing to share some bittersweet news with you. [Retiring Colleague’s Name], a valued member of our team, will be retiring from their role on [Retirement Date]. While we are excited for [Retiring Colleague’s Name] to begin a new chapter in their life, we will certainly miss their presence and contributions here at [Company].

[Retiring Colleague’s Name] has been with our company for [Number of Years] years and has immensely impacted our team and the broader organization. Their [Brief Description of Retiring Colleague’s Key Contributions, Accomplishments, and Qualities] have been integral to our success and growth, and we are grateful for their dedication and hard work.

We will miss [Retiring Colleague’s Name]’s [Personal Characteristics, Traits, or Interests] and the positive energy they bring to our workplace. We know their retirement will leave a significant void, but we wish them all the best in this next chapter of their lives. We hope they will find joy, fulfillment, and relaxation in their retirement and stay in touch with our team.

To celebrate [Retiring Colleague’s Name] and their contributions, we are planning [Brief Description of Retirement Celebration, Gift, or Activity]. We invite you all to join us in honoring [Retiring Colleague’s Name] and expressing our gratitude for their years of service and dedication.

Please join me in thanking [Retiring Colleague’s Name] for their outstanding contributions and wishing them a happy and healthy retirement.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Title]

[Company Name]

8) Gift A Personalized Retirement Gift

Give the retiree a personalized gift that reflects their interests and hobbies, such as a customized golf club, a personalized wine glass, or a monogrammed travel bag. This is a thoughtful way to show the retiree how much they are valued and create a lasting memory. To organize it, coordinate with colleagues to pool funds and find a gift that the retiree will love.

No need to worry if you struggle with finding the perfect retirement gift. I’ve researched hours for the best retirement gifts out there. Click here for the Top 5 Best Retirement Gifts.

9) Organize A Roast

Hold a lighthearted roast for your colleague, where coworkers can share funny stories and memories. This is a fun and entertaining way to honor your retiring coworker and make them feel appreciated. Be sure to keep the tone light and respectful.

Note: This is not for everyone. If the retiree has a great sense of humor and can take a couple of good jokes, then you’re good to go.

10) A Memory Jar

Have each colleague write down a favorite memory with your retiring coworker and place it in a beautifully decorated memory jar. This is a great keepsake for them to treasure in their retirement. Encourage coworkers to be creative and include photos, drawings, and other mementos with their memories.

11) Collect Retirement Bucket List Ideas

Create a retirement bucket list for your colleague and have everyone contribute ideas. This is a fun and creative way to help your retiring coworker plan their retirement activities and shows that you care about their future. Consider including both practical and adventurous ideas on the list. You can get a Bucket List Bucket with Index cards on Amazon>>.

12) Plan A Bucket List Activity

If your retiring coworker already has a bucket list, you can consider planning one of these bucket list activities as a fun experience gift. For example: taking a hot air balloon ride, visiting a foreign country, or learning a new skill. You can collect money with all coworkers to make this dream of theirs possible.

This is a fun and inspiring way to celebrate the retiree’s new chapter in life and create a positive start for their retirement.

13) Present A Plaque

Create a plaque with your colleague’s name and years of service engraved on it. This is a classic and timeless way to show your appreciation and commemorate your coworker’s time at the company. Consider presenting the plaque at a retirement party or other special event.

14) Plan A Team Outing

Plan a team outing to celebrate your colleague’s retirement, such as a group lunch or dinner, a day trip to a nearby attraction, or a fun activity like a painting class or bowling. This is a great way to show your colleague how much you value their contributions and strengthen your team’s bond before they depart.

15) Organize A Retirement Scavenger Hunt

Organize a scavenger hunt for the retiree that takes them to places that are meaningful to them, such as their favorite coffee shop, a park where they walk their dog or a museum they love. This is a fun and adventurous way to celebrate the retiree’s accomplishments and create a memorable experience. Organize it by planning out the clues and locations, and coordinate with colleagues to help the retiree complete the scavenger hunt.

16) Make A Memory Quilt

Create a quilt that features patches with photos, messages, and mementos from the retiree’s time at the company. This is a unique and creative way to honor the retiree’s contributions and create a lasting keepsake. To organize it, coordinate with colleagues to gather the patches and find someone who can sew the final product.

17) Start A Retirement Book Club

Start a retirement book club with the retiree and colleagues, where everyone reads and discusses books that the retiree has always wanted to read. This is a fun and intellectual way to celebrate the retiree’s interests and create a supportive community. To organize it, coordinate with colleagues to find books that the retiree will enjoy and schedule book club meetings.

18) A Retirement Charity Donation

Make a donation to a charity that the retiree is passionate about, such as a local animal shelter, a children’s hospital, or an environmental organization. This is a thoughtful way to show the retiree how much they are appreciated while also making a positive impact on their behalf. To organize it, coordinate with colleagues to pool funds and find a charity the retiree will happily support.

19) Organize A Sports/ Video Game Tournament

Organize a video game tournament with the retiree and colleagues, featuring games that the retiree loves to play, such as Mario Kart, Minecraft, or Fortnite. Or organize the retiree’s favorite sports tournament at the office or at a sports venue. This is a fun and competitive way to celebrate the retiree’s interests and create a memorable experience. Coordinate with colleagues to find the games and equipment, and set a schedule for the tournament.

20) A retirement Art Exhibit

Organize an art exhibit featuring the retiree’s artwork, whether it’s paintings, sculptures, or photographs. This is a creative way to celebrate the retiree’s talent and create a supportive community. To organize it, find a venue for the exhibit, coordinate with colleagues to set up the artwork, and invite friends and family to attend.

21) Gift A Handpainted Portrait Painting

A handmade portrait painting is truly unique to honor a retiring coworker. You can have a handpainted portrait painting made from a photo of your colleague by professional artists.

This painting can be anything you want. A painting of the coworker on the job, together with their spouse, a family portrait, grandchildren, or their favorite pet.

Here is how it works:

At Paint Your Life, you select your favorite professional artists, and they will create a painting from a photo you send them. You have unlimited revisions and 100% of your money back if you are not happy with the painting in the end. Interested? Make sure to check out their website:

22) Attend A Cooking Class

Take the retiree and colleagues to a cooking class that features dishes from the retiree’s favorite cuisine, such as Italian, Thai, or French. This is a fun and interactive way to celebrate the retiree’s interests and create a delicious experience. To organize it, find a cooking class that fits the retiree’s interests, coordinate with colleagues to sign up and pay for the class, and enjoy cooking and eating together.

23) A Retirement Photo Shoot

Organize a professional photo shoot for the retiree, featuring different outfits and backgrounds that reflect their personality and interests. This is a fun and glamorous way to celebrate the retiree’s accomplishments and create lasting memories. To organize it, find a photographer who specializes in portrait photography, coordinate with colleagues to pay for the session, and help the retiree choose outfits and props.

24) A Retirement Escape Room

Organize an escape room challenge for the retiree and colleagues, featuring puzzles and clues that reflect the retiree’s interests and accomplishments. This is a fun and challenging way to celebrate the retiree’s problem-solving skills and create a memorable experience. To organize it, find an escape room venue that fits the retiree’s interests, coordinate with colleagues to sign up, pay for the challenge, and enjoy the escape room together. Perhaps you can even customize the escape room challenge to make it more personal.

25) A Retirement Travel Package

Create a travel package for the retiree and their partner or family members, featuring a destination or experience that reflects their interests and desires. This is a fun and adventurous way to celebrate the retiree’s achievements and create a memorable experience. To organize it, research travel options that fit the retiree’s preferences, coordinate with colleagues to contribute to the package and present it as a surprise gift.

26) Organize A Charity Fundraiser

Organize a charity fundraiser in honor of the retiree, featuring a cause or organization that reflects their values or passions. This is a fun and meaningful way to celebrate the retiree’s generosity and create a positive impact. To organize it, research local charities or causes that align with the retiree’s interests, coordinate with colleagues to plan the event, solicit donations, and enjoy the fundraiser together.

27) A Retirement Video Montage

Create a video montage of memorable moments from the retiree’s career or life, featuring photos, videos, or interviews with colleagues and loved ones. This is a fun and sentimental way to celebrate the retiree’s accomplishments and create lasting memories. To organize it, collect the materials for the montage, edit them together with music or narration, and present it to the retiree.

28) Host A Wine Or Beer Tasting

Host a wine or beer tasting for the retiree and colleagues, featuring a selection of beverages that reflect the retiree’s tastes or interests. This is a fun and social way to celebrate the retiree’s love of good drinks and create a festive atmosphere. To organize it, choose a location or venue that fits the tasting, coordinate with colleagues to purchase or bring the beverages, and enjoy the tasting and conversation together.

29) Plant A Tree

Plant a tree in honor of your retiring coworker, with a plaque or marker to commemorate their time at the company. This is a beautiful and meaningful way to show your appreciation and create a lasting legacy. Consider selecting a tree that has significance for the retiree, such as their favorite type of tree or one that represents their values.

30) Give A Surprise Gift Basket

Put together a gift basket filled with your colleague’s favorite snacks, books, and other items. This is a simple and thoughtful way to show your appreciation and make them feel special. Consider personalizing the basket with items that reflect their personality and interests.

Read more: 25 Fantastic Retirement Gift Basket Ideas

31) Host A Farewell Lunch

Host a farewell lunch for your colleague, with coworkers contributing dishes and sharing memories. This is a great way to show your appreciation and bid farewell to your coworker in a fun and festive way. Consider decorating the lunch area with balloons, streamers, and other decorations.

32) A Mentorship Award

Create a mentorship award in honor of your retiring coworker, recognizing their contributions to mentoring and training new employees. This is a great way to show your appreciation and inspire future generations of employees. Consider presenting the award at a retirement party or other special event.

33) A Retirement Card

Create a card with a special message from everyone in the office, including memories, well wishes, and contact information. This is a great way to show your appreciation and create a lasting memento of their time at the company. Consider decorating the card with photos, drawings, or other personalized touches.

Sample Retirement Card Messages For A Coworker

  1. Best wishes on your retirement! Working alongside you and learning from your expertise has been an honor. Your positive attitude, dedication, and hard work have impacted our team and the company. Enjoy your well-deserved retirement and all the adventures that come with it!
  2. Congratulations on your retirement! You’ve worked hard and made a significant contribution to our team and the organization. We’ll miss your expertise, humor, and infectious enthusiasm, but we know you’ll enjoy this next chapter of your life. Best of luck, and stay in touch!
  3. Happy retirement! You leave behind a legacy of excellence, professionalism, and kindness that will inspire us for years to come. Working with you and learning from your wisdom and experience has been a pleasure. We wish you all the best in your retirement and hope to see you soon!
  4. Congratulations on your retirement! You’ve set a high bar for dedication, passion, and innovation in your work, and we’ve been lucky to have you on our team. As you begin this new adventure, we hope you’ll find joy, relaxation, and fulfillment in all that you do. Thank you for everything, and stay in touch!
  5. Best wishes for your retirement! Working with such a talented, kind, and inspiring colleague has been a privilege. Your legacy of excellence and service will live on in our team and the organization. We hope that your retirement is full of new discoveries, adventures, and memories. Thank you for all that you’ve done, and enjoy your well-deserved retirement!

34) Hand Out A Company Award

Create a special company award in honor of your retiring colleague, recognizing their contributions to the company and their industry. This is a great way to show your appreciation and inspire future generations of employees. Consider presenting the award at a retirement party or other special event and highlighting their accomplishments and impact on the company.

35) A Personalized Caricature

Commission a personalized caricature of the retiree that captures their personality and humor. This is a unique and fun way to honor the retiree’s contributions and create a lasting memento. To organize it, find an artist who specializes in caricatures and coordinate with them to create the final product.

36) Serve A Retirement Cake

Serving a retirement cake to enjoy with all coworkers to celebrate your colleague’s retirement is a delicious and sweet way to honor their retirement. It is the most simple way to celebrate retirement, which is almost indispensable for any retirement celebration. Find out more about retirement cakes in my article: What To Put On A Retirement Cake? The Ultimate Guide

37) Compile A Cookbook

Compile a cookbook of the most famous recipes from all coworkers or your coworker’s favorite recipes and gift it during the retirement party.

38) Host A Retirement Speech

Have someone give a retirement speech highlighting your colleague’s contributions to the company.

Read more: Farewell Speech For Retiring Boss (Examples & Tips!) or 20 Expert Tips To Give The Best Retirement Speech

39) Gift A Retirement Survival Kit

Create a retirement survival kit with items such as a book, a coffee mug, and a personalized note.

40) A Retirement Banner

Create a retirement banner and have everyone in the office sign it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are helpful answers to frequently asked questions:

What To Say To A Good Colleague Who Is Retiring?

  1. Congratulations on your retirement! You have been an incredible colleague and friend, and working with you has been an absolute pleasure. Your dedication, passion, and expertise have significantly impacted our team and the company, and we’ll miss you dearly. Thank you for everything, and enjoy your well-deserved retirement!
  2. It’s hard to say goodbye to a good colleague like you. Your hard work, positive attitude, and inspiring leadership have been a source of motivation for all of us. You leave behind a legacy of excellence and professionalism that will continue to guide our team. Best wishes on your retirement, and please stay in touch!
  3. Congratulations on your retirement, my dear colleague! You’ve been an integral part of our team and a true friend. Your creativity, innovation, and kindness have made a significant impact on our work and our lives. As you embark on this new journey, I wish you joy, relaxation, and fulfillment in all that you do. Thank you for being an amazing colleague, and I’ll miss you dearly!
  4. It’s bittersweet to see you retire, my dear colleague. On the one hand, we’re excited for you to start a new chapter in your life. On the other hand, we’ll miss your infectious enthusiasm, your positive energy, and your unwavering commitment to our team. You’ve been an inspiration to us all, and we’ll always cherish the memories we’ve made together. Best of luck with your retirement, and please keep in touch!
  5. Congratulations on your retirement, my wonderful colleague! You have been a beacon of excellence, integrity, and compassion in our workplace. Your unwavering dedication to our team and your amazing skills have significantly impacted our work and lives. As you transition to retirement, I hope you’ll enjoy all the things you love and create even more wonderful memories. Thank you for everything, and please stay in touch!

How Do You Write A Tribute To Someone Who Is Retiring?

  1. Start with an introduction: Begin your tribute by introducing the person who is retiring, including their name, position, and how long they’ve worked at the company. You can also mention any significant accomplishments or milestones they achieved during their career.
  2. Share personal anecdotes: Personal anecdotes or stories that highlight the person’s character, personality, and contributions to the workplace can be a great way to make your tribute more meaningful and memorable. Share stories about how the person impacted the team or the company, their achievements, their challenges, and their unique talents or skills.
  3. Highlight their strengths: Take some time to reflect on the person’s strengths and how they have made a difference in the workplace. Whether it’s their leadership, work ethic, creativity, or teamwork, make sure to highlight what made them stand out and what you’ll miss about them.
  4. Express your appreciation: Show appreciation for the person’s contributions and gratitude for their dedication and hard work. You can also mention how much you’ll miss them and how they’ve impacted your life and career.
  5. Wish them well: Finally, wish the person well in their retirement and express your hope that they’ll enjoy this new chapter in their life. You can also offer any words of advice, encouragement, or inspiration as they embark on this new journey.

Remember, being sincere and genuine in your tribute is the most important thing. Speak from the heart and be sure to give the person the recognition and appreciation they deserve for their contributions to the workplace.

Read more: How To Write A Memorable Retirement Tribute: 5 Easy Steps

Kirsten Veldman

I'm Kirsten. In 2017, my husband Léon, and I decided to retire from the rat race to travel the world and work and live location independently. In the last couple of years, I wrote over 200+ articles about retirement and did extensive research to help people prepare, enjoy and celebrate retirement in the best way possible.

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