Retiring from work is usually a happy occasion and is often celebrated by the giving of gifts from fellow work colleagues and sometimes, the throwing of a party. This kind of event rarely comes along more than once in your lifetime so it’s a special occasion and one which you should remember for the rest of your life.
No doubt, you’ll feel many other intense emotions as well – perhaps sadness at leaving your workmates and even the job itself. When choosing retirement gifts for a person or throwing a party for them, it’s often better to choose things that specifically reflect the retiring person’s personality and/or will be of use to them in their retirement or something they can look back on fondly. Basically, it should all be about acknowledging a fellow colleague’s years of loyal service and wishing them ‘Congratulations’ as they head off into their retirement years.
A well-thought out retirement gift should usually fall into one of two categories. It should either be a reminder of the happy times they spent at work and the people they worked with or it should be something that will be useful in their leisure pursuits or hobbies.
Buying them something like a new coffee maker, whilst being very nice, will probably not really mean anything in terms of what their life is all about so it’s good to put some thought into what you want to buy them.
Usually, colleagues will all pool together and buy something special as well as, perhaps, buying a few cheap joke items which will remind the retiree of the fun memories they had at work. If the person’s a golfer, an apt gift might be buying a set of personalised golf tees or balls or a book on the best golf courses in the UK. If they travel on holiday a lot, your gift might include an iPod if they enjoy listening to music on the beach or perhaps a travel hairdryer, portable music speakers or a travel toiletries set.
Whatever you buy, you’re only limited by your budget and your capacity to come up with ideas that will be useful to them in the kind of hobbies and leisure activities they wish to pursue making sure, as best you can, that they haven’t already got such an item.
Alternatively, your choice of gift might be more reflective and personal from the time they spent at work. Items might include a new watch engraved with a good luck message from the team or a pewter tankard or silver salver, likewise suitably engraved, or it could even be something like a ‘This Is Your Life’ scrapbook featuring photographs of their years with the company and highlighting any achievements that they had which could be taken from company newsletters, for example.
A good retirement party should try to include work colleagues as well as family and friends wherever possible. If the venue’s big enough, you could also invite former work colleagues of the person who’s retiring. It should be well decorated with balloons and banners featuring slogans like ‘Good Luck In Your Retirement’ or something funny or more poignant and there are plenty of companies who can customise banners, balloons and other decorations for you.
Themed parties are often a lot of fun but are even better if they tap into the interests of the person who’s retiring. So, for example, if the retiree is a big Beatles fan, maybe you could throw a ‘Sixties’ themed party where the DJ played all 60s music and you all dressed up in 60s fashions. You might also think about getting a 60s cover band to play on stage. Or, if the person’s Scottish, for example, you may all choose to wear kilts and get a bagpipe band to play. Whatever you decide, a themed party shows that you have put some thought in to add that personal touch.
Maybe you can stop the musical entertainment for a short while to show some video footage of the retiree’s time at work featuring humorous moments as well as any developments or projects that have changed the company for the better and where the retiree played a part in them coming to fruition.
Speeches, too, are pretty fundamental to a retirement party and should vary in style, perhaps starting off with a couple of funny tributes about the retiree, followed by a personal tribute and offer of well wishes from the employer themselves to the retiree making the final ‘thank you’ speech. A really interesting trend, when it comes to retirement speeches is where a long serving colleague makes a tribute to the retiree, reflecting on some of the many work experiences and achievements they’ve both shared, followed by a speech from a new employee giving thanks to the retiree for helping them to settle in and for what they’ve learned from them in the time since they began working there.
A final nice touch, if the retiree is present with their spouse or partner. is to also acknowledge their partner too. It might be a bouquet of flowers for a lady or a silver tankard for a man, or something along those lines but, as partners can often be overshadowed at a person’s retirement party, it is a gesture that is usually highly appreciated.
Whatever you decide to plan for a person’s retirement, make it special enough to remind them of fond memories for years to come.
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