Gift Ideas for Retirement

Gift ideas for when a colleague leaves can be such a tough nut to crack. There’s no better time to lament your rubbish listening skills than when you have to find the perfect gift for the colleague you were only half listening to every morning when you made hot bevs together. 

Arguably, retirement gifts are even more important to get right – but they’re even tricker to do! 

Starting a Collection Pot instead can cut out a lot of the risk of getting it wrong. And it’s much less faff than trawling the shops! Just send the link round the office to collect cash and then, once the Pot is closed, let your colleague decide what they’d like as a send-off. Simple.

What’s a good farewell message for retirement?

So, how do you say goodbye to someone who is retiring? First and foremost, it should sound sincere. So don’t overthink it! 

Whilst you don’t want a card of identical cookie cutter messages – “Good luck with the next chapter!” – you also don’t want to write something that gives cheesy supermarket greetings card vibes. A niche reference, we know. 

Here are a few examples of good farewell messages that strike the balance of sincere without being OTT.

Like this little taster? Well, we have a whole blog dedicated to farewell messages to colleagues. Check it out and never panic about what to write again!

Otherwise, if you’re here to learn the rules, not the answers, we love that for you. Here are three golden rules we recommend sticking to if you’re struggling:

  1. Don’t write an essay, keep it sweet.
  2. Talk about how the colleague’s impacted you – have they taught you anything? Will you miss anything specific about them?
  3. If you don’t really know them, don’t pretend that you do; you can even reference it: “It’s a shame we didn’t work together more closely!”

What to give someone who is retiring?

Hold your horses. Before we get into what you should gift, let’s talk about the more crucial, what you should steer clear from. Skipton Building Society did a study on the average cost of a retirement gift, finding that colleagues collect an average of £100 per retiree. That’s just £2.17 per year of a 47 year career! A little disappointing. 

They surveyed some of the worst gifts received by retirees. If you have £100 to spend, here’s what not to spend it on:

Basically, unless your colleague has mentioned a specific interest to you, or they’ve asked for something particular, try not to buy something niche. There’s a good chance it could end up in the bin!

OK, what are some good gifts?

A good way to source a good gift is to do the obvious: just ask your colleague! 

Find out what they like or if they have anything on their wish list at the moment. You can even just tell them the team is buying them a retirement present and see if they have any suggestions of what they fancy. Let’s be real. A surprise is only fun if it’s a good surprise – and a surprise rubbish gift is no fun at all.

If you don’t want to ask your colleague, steer clear of anything stereotypical. Avoid anything that will make your colleague feel like you’re calling them old and anything marketed “for men” or “for women” (aka socks and bath bombs). They’re always disappointing to receive. 

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself; would I like to open this in front of a room of colleagues? If the answer is no, assume it might be the same for them!

Here are some examples of good gift ideas:

Why take the risk?

Seriously, pouring over what gift to buy can be so much more hassle than it’s worth. Especially with the alternative: creating a personalised Collection Pot in minutes

Then all you need to do is send around the link for everyone to put in cash, and once the Pot is closed, the receiver can either debit the full amount into their bank account or they can choose between 60+ high street gift cards.

They can do this in their own time, without the pressure of a colleague asking them across the microwave at lunch! It really is the obvious choice, and we’re not biased or anything. Not even a bit.

Elaine Keep

Elaine Keep is an accomplished content writer with over 15 years of experience in the field of marketing and content creation for many leading brands, where she shares her passion for research and helping others through her articles. You can also find her in 'mum mode', walking in the countryside or enjoying the dreamy combo of a new non-fiction book with a tea and chocolate bar to hand.

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