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Retirement Gift Ideas: How Much to Spend and What to Get

Kyle Greco

November 1, 2021

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Retirement sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? To get away from the 9-5 grind once and for all is the dream for a lot of us. Which is why we should put our envy to one side and celebrate the people in our lives who are about to do just that. Below, we’ve collected the best retirement gift ideas for anyone and everyone.

How Much Money Should You Spend on a Retirement Gift?

Generally, you only have to spend between $10-50 on a retirement gift. Does that sound too low? Consider this: yes, the retiree has spent a great portion of their life working, and to be past that is worth celebrating. But by the same token, they’re kind of getting the best gift of all: to be done with work for good. If you’re inclined to splash the cash for a special circumstance, then by all means do so! But you don’t have to break the bank to give a thoughtful, personalized gift. 

If you want to give the retiree something a bit out of your price range, team up with your fellow coworkers to split the cost.

The Retirement Gift Ideas You Need


 For a Coworker

Custom shirts. This is a great gift, especially if you’re attending a retirement party for the man or woman of the hour. Don’t only get them for the retiree, either. Get the whole office in on it, with retirement party shirts that celebrate the retiree’s well-deserved last hurrah. Imagine the look on their face when they walk into a room filled with partygoers wearing shirts for their special day!




Standing invitation to company events. If you have the ability to do so, let the retiree know that they’re always welcome back to your company’s holiday parties, retreats, and family days. It’s a nice way to remind them that they’ll always be a valued member of the team.





Tickets to a concert, performance, or game. When was the last time they were able to enjoy a late weeknight at the theater, or a weekday matinee baseball game? Together with your coworkers, you can treat them to tickets to see their favorite band, dance company, or team live.  

If you can’t get them directly from the source, try websites like StubHub or SeatGeek.




For Parents

Funny retirement shirts. We wouldn’t recommend these shirts for just anybody. Some folks don’t find jokey t-shirts to be all that funny. But if your parents have a sense of humor, create a few custom retirement shirts to add to their wardrobe. 

The beauty of making custom shirts is that you can build a specific design they’ll love. Whether you reference an inside joke, their favorite things, or, you know, how old they are.



Classes. Now that your mom and dad are retired, ‘free time’ rules the day. That means plenty more opportunities to pursue their hobbies and interests in a deeper way than they had before. Classes are a great way to do this. 

Whether it’s a cooking class that introduces them to a new cuisine, or art classes that help them perfect their brushstroke, they’ll be able to immerse themselves in something they love to do.



Luggage. Your parents have always talked about wanting to see the world. Now is the time for them to do it! Don’t let them roll up to the airport with last decade’s suitcases, though. Equip them with gear that’s durable, stylish, and high-tech.





Membership to a cultural institution. Your parents have always enjoyed a trip to the museum. Feed their love for culture with a membership to their favorite one. Memberships often offer free or reduced tickets, early access to special events, and other perks. 






For Family

Treats. Make your world famous fudge for your Uncle Buddy. Or give your Aunt Sue a big batch of those butterscotch blondies she loves. Making delectable bites are an excellent way of saying “congratulations on a great career,” even if you don’t write “Happy Retirement” on them in buttercream icing. 




Barware or Serveware. Now that your family member is retired, they’ll have more time to rediscover the joy of entertaining guests. Help them take their hosting game to the next level with a serving bowl, bar cart, or bar tool set. 





Bronzed Tool. This is an awesome idea, particularly if your retiring family member worked with their hands throughout their career. It’s a great symbol to represent their longevity in the craft, and will look fantastic on their bookshelf or desk at home. 

A bronzing company can do this for you. Bronzery does great work for well-known brands, and Corporate Bronze has bronzed a wide variety of items with great success. 



Scrapbook. Retirement isn’t just an opportunity to take stock of the work you’ve done. It’s also a chance to reflect on life: the growth of your family, the friends you’ve made, and the memories you cherish. Invite the family to help you compile a book for the special retiree in your life that celebrates it all. Together, you can tell the beautiful story of the retiree’s life through photographs, words, and other ephemera.





For Your Boss

Watch. The classic retirement gift is a gold pocket watch, to symbolize the passage of time and a job well done. You don’t have to adhere to that style, however. Go with a look you think the retiree will appreciate. A wristwatch, pocket watch, or even a clock are great ways to show you appreciate their years of hard work.




Travel mug. Even though your boss won’t be working anymore, that doesn’t mean they plan on slowing down. They want a gift that suits their always-moving lifestyle. A spill-proof, ultra-insulated travel mug will help their coffee stay hot (or cold) no matter where they go.





Cuff links. They don’t plan on wearing a suit all that often anymore, but there will still be plenty of opportunities to wear these. From weddings to gala fundraisers, your boss can wear these and remember what a solid team they managed back in the day.





A Plaque. The lifetime achievement awards are only given out to the most famous people in their fields, but that doesn’t mean your boss doesn’t deserve it. You and your co-workers can chip in to get them a commemorative gift celebrating all of their hard work. 






For Teachers and Mentors

Art. The right painting, sculpture, or photograph can tell your mentor how much they mean to you. That is, provided they like art in the first place (not everyone does). Choose a print from their favorite artist, and get it framed so they don’t have to. 

Or, if you’re confident in your artistic skills, make something for them! It’s a particularly thoughtful gesture if both of you are in a creative field.



Gift basket. Now that those decades of work are behind them, it’s time to indulge. A themed gift basket filled with treats might not be the most unique gift, but there’s no doubt it will be enjoyed by its recipient. You could order one premade, but it will be better if you create it yourself. There are plenty of great tutorials online about how to do this, and it will feel extra special to them knowing you put it together by hand.




Pen. Elegant in its simplicity, this gift is perfect for just about any kind of teacher or mentor. It symbolizes creativity and craftsmanship while also offering a unique sense of style. Plus it’s eminently useful. Every time the recipient goes to jot something down with it, they’ll think of you.




A heartfelt letter. Take this as an opportunity to thank them for the myriad ways they’ve helped you through the years. It’s a priceless way to show them what a positive impact their career has had.





Kyle Greco

About the Author

Kyle Greco is the resident writer at RushOrderTees, where he blends word nerdery with his love for T-shirts. A graduate of The College of New Jersey, he is interested in exploring the intersection of clothing and culture. In his spare time, he makes music, builds guitars, and cooks with his wife. He enjoys hot dogs, sports, and collecting too many hats.