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Retirement gift ideas for everyone in your life

What we'll cover

  • Finding the right gift based on interests and hobbies

  • Gift ideas based on your relationship

  •  Gifts based on your life stage

Retirement is one of life’s ultimate milestones — a monumental, often bittersweet event that’s equal parts an ending and a new beginning. Whether your parent, friend, or co-worker who’s been by your side is leaving the workforce, retirement is a special time to celebrate and thank them for years of hard work and dedication.

If you’re looking for retirement gift ideas that go beyond a witty coffee mug to truly show your appreciation, you’ve come to the right place.

Retirement gift ideas by interest

Just because someone retires doesn’t mean they want to give up on the proverbial watercooler talk. So, let your gift celebrate staying in touch and being connected. Tap into their hobbies and give them a class you could attend together, whether it’s a cooking class or a meditation workshop. Or, if they want to update their wardrobe from boardroom-friendly pantsuits to trendy yet comfy joggers, pick up a gift card to their favorite store — and then tag along during the shopping trip.

You can always go the technology route, too. Think tech meets tranquility. Get the good life started with noise-cancelling headphones or wireless speakers. A massager is a good choice for anyone who needs to ease shoulder knots after a day of golf. A reading tablet or a subscription to audio books are other good options, especially for retirees who are ready to downsize and zone out.

Retirement gift ideas for co-workers

If you’re part of a tight-knit work crew, you’ll want a retirement gift that reminds your former colleague they’re still part of the pack. Consider a fitness tracker or a smartwatch. The gift, which is worn daily, is a continuous reminder that they’re still in the game even if they’re not in the office. Better yet, if you use the same apps as your former co-worker, you can stay in touch daily and strive for new goals that don’t involve spreadsheets and charts.

Retirement gift ideas for parents

Even in retirement, your parents might feel tempted to keep working on this or that. Nudge them into relaxation with a retirement gift that says it’s ok to slow down. Nothing says R&R like a gift basket full of comfy blankets, decadent candles, and a stack of books. Or make their hobbies that much more enticing, whether it’s gifting a fancy yoga mat or a basket full of cashmere yarn.

If your parent traveled frequently for work, they might appreciate updated (maybe even more colorful) luggage to tackle that post-retirement bucket list. Or maybe they've always wished they could play an instrument. The golden years are the perfect time to invest in that guitar and sign them up for lessons.

Retirement gift ideas for professionals

Professionals with a passion for what they do will love retirement gifts that remind them of their job. Send off the retiree with a bit of humor by gifting a pair of cheesy socks that nod to said profession (think eye chart socks for an ophthalmologist or yellow legal pad socks for a lawyer). Alternatively, opt for luxe hand creams (or a manicure) to pamper a nurse who spent an inordinate amount of time washing hands and using cuticle-drying hand sanitizer. Or surprise a retiring teacher with a collection of messages from former students. And a gift card to a spa is always appreciated by someone leaving their stressed-out self in the past.

Funny retirement gift ideas

Humor is one of those things that keeps on giving. If your co-worker loved sticky notes, pick them up a jumbo-sized version of their favorite yellow Post-Its. Or encourage them to keep getting laughs from your crew’s inside jokes by having a custom t-shirt printed.

Unique retirement gift ideas

To pull on the heartstrings, go beyond a gift card and harness all those quirky and/or sentimental moments you’ve shared over the years and package them into a personalized gift. Select a food subscription box that will remind your colleague of all the times you chatted together in the kitchen. Or gather photos from all your offsites and company picnics, create a photo collage, and have it printed on a puzzle or mug.

Retirement gift ideas for younger retirees

Social Security benefits don’t kick in until your 60s, but retirement isn’t on hold until then as more folks in their 20s, 30s, and 40s participate in the FIRE movement, or Financial Independence Retire Early. 

 For someone with decades of adventures ahead, consider gifts that nod toward travel — like a passport holder, backpacking gear, or city guides. Or lean into their hobbies with cooking lessons or a blog domain.

Retirement gift ideas for those who change professions

Retirement doesn’t necessarily mean leaving the workforce for good. For those in the military, police force, and more, retirement could look like moving to another profession. Honor their career with a gift that lets them reflect and share their service, like a display case for badges or medals, or a framed certificate.

Celebrate what's next

You don’t need to spend a ton of money or throw a huge retirement party to wish your loved ones or co-workers a happy retirement. The best way to do so is with a thoughtful retirement gift idea that shows you care about the work they’ve done and you’re ready to celebrate their future, too.

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