How To Celebrate A Retirement At Work

Woman planting flowers in the garden

The dream: retiring at 38 and waving goodbye to your old life of working for a living without a single care to give, adorned in something floor length en route to the yacht that you can definitely afford to charter where you’ll be fed grapes, fancy crisps and something bubbly by the crew. The reality: not this. 


Retirement is a massive thing! And it should be celebrated accordingly. 

So, let’s start from the top. What kind of celebration works well for a colleague retiring?

6 Retirement Celebration Ideas

  1. Make a goodbye video

Videos always go down well. And they make it look like a heck of a lot more work has gone into them than they actually take, which is great for all involved. Get your colleagues to film short 10 second clips (or longer, if they fancy themselves as stars of the stage and screen) then someone creative/with a subscription to Vimeo can add some music. Bang. You’ve got a tear-jerker at the ready.   

  1. Go out for a nice lunch

If your colleague doesn’t fancy hitting the club, why not go out for a nice lunch somewhere nearby? It can be a great opportunity to get everyone together and to make the person leaving feel special without too much pressure to go for a rager.

  1. Organise a party where partners are invited

After however many years of work, it’s nice to be able to celebrate with your nearest and dearest as well as your work lot, isn’t it? Organising something that gets the colleagues mingling with plus ones can be a lot of fun. And it’s a nice gesture to your colleague who’s retiring to include their loved ones in the celebration. Also, realistically, imagine how many work stories the partner will have heard about everyone over the years. They’re basically part of the team.

  1. A quiz

Did someone say lockdown? No. Not that type of quiz. Believe it or not, quizzes were once an in-person affair, not just buffering over Zoom. Putting together a personalised quiz for the person leaving is another great way to show that you all care. And, just imagine, you’ll be able to chat and mingle without the threat of the 40 minute timer shutting down the fun. What a win! 

  1. Hire a photobooth

Let’s call this one the wild card option. Not everyone likes a photo booth… but those that do love it. If you’re looking for retirement celebration ideas with memories that you can stick on the fridge, then hiring a photobooth is the ticket.

  1. Keep it local

Why mess with a winning formula, ey? If there’s a place you’ve all been going as a team to Thursday, Friday or even Tuesday (if you’re that kind of office) drinks for basically forever, then why shake it up? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

What Can I Put In A Retirement Card?

Step two: how to celebrate a retirement via heartfelt message in a tiny space allotted to you in the communal card? It’s actually not as tricky as it might seem.

A few words can be powerful. See? Here are a three brilliant examples:

  1. You’ve earned this! Enjoy the rest and relaxation.
  2. Congratulations on your retirement, you will be missed!
  3. Whatever you have planned for your retirement – enjoy it. Wishing you health and happiness.

Check out our blog on how to nail retirement card messages for a more detailed list of well-wishes!

What Gifts Are Good Retirement Celebration Ideas?

This is the trickiest one. 

When it comes to buying a gift for your colleague, it can be so hard to get something they actually want. Flowers, chocolates, John Lewis vouchers – they’re all fine, but super-impersonal. There are also only so many Hotel Chocolat gift boxes, personalised cookies and heavily frosted cakes that one person can consume.

To avoid getting something that goes to waste – and you know what we’re going to suggest next, right? – how about setting up a Collection Pot?

Save yourself the time requesting tenners and suggestions on your lunch break. Instead, just create an online Collection Pot, share the link with the office and once your Pot is closed, the receiver can choose between over 60 high street gift cards or just debit the cash straight into their account.

Nifty, hey?