Do You Bring A Gift To A Retirement Party?

According to Legal Jobs, 10,000 baby boomers hit retirement age every day. That’s a lot of retiring and a lot of retirement parties too.

If you’ve been invited to a retirement party, you’re probably wondering if it’s customary to bring a present? The answer is…it depends on the situation. For the most part, yes…it is good manners to bring a gift to a retirement party.

🧔 Who, What, When, and Where

Labor is an intense time so you may decide for your partner to do the actual gifting. The question remains though – when should the gift be given?

Gifts can give a wide array of messages. Gratitude is one of them. They can also be misconstrued as flirting so if your partner is going to present the present, it’s advisable they do so while you’re in the room – even if you are preoccupied.


There’s a big difference in going to an informal event for a co-worker than there is attending a more formal affair for someone who has been your boss for several decades. Who the party is for and their relationship to you will help you determine if you should bring a gift or not and if so, how much you should spend on it.


The type of retirement you are going to matters when considering if you should bring a gift or not. Is the party a dinner for formal affair or is it a simple get-together?


Is the party in the evening? Evening events are typically more formal and you’d definitely want to take a gift. If it’s during a lunch break at the workplace, you may want to take a small token of your appreciation for the retiring employee’s service but nothing expensive.


Certain party places denote whether gifts will be given. If the party is at a restaurant or bar, chances are some guests will bring a gift and some will not. If it’s a formal party at someone’s home, most will most likely be giving presents.

💰 How Much to Spend on a Retirement Gift

Determining how much to spend on a retirement present should always depend on your budget. If you are barely surviving financially, it’s alright to spend the minimal or, better yet, find something on clearance or make the present yourself. As a rule, spending between $25 to $50 is about average. If you are extremely close to the retiree, you might spring to spend more and if not, spend a little less. You might also want to go in with others to purchase a group gift.

🎁 Ideas Of What To Bring As A Gift

If you are going to bring a gift to a retirement party, you may be stumped as to what to bring. First, you’ll want to determine what kind of a gift you want to give – serious, elegant, humorous, practical, and so forth. And you’ll need to decide how much to spend.

Some fantastic gift ideas for retirees include:


  • Baskets: Why not assemble a basket for the guest of honor? You can stay within a strict budget by picking up items that are on sale or even load up at the dollar store. Pick a theme (like leisure, snacks, or whatever hobbies he or she is into) and build the basket accordingly.

  • Books: Since retirees tend to have more time on their hands once they’re not working anymore, you can buy a book or two in the genre they are partial to. You might even throw in a bookmarker.

  • Liquor or Wine: While you can spend a fortune on liquor and wine, you can also find fabulous assortments on a budget. Add a nice note and you’ve got a great gift.

  • Keychain: Everyone can use a new keychain. A retirement-themed keychain makes a great, budget-friendly retirement gift.

Tickle Their Funny Bone

  • Retirement t-shirt: Zazzle is notorious for having hilarious t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hoodies that say it all. You can even customize one for a personal touch

  • Mug: You’ll find a nice assortment of retirement mugs at CafePress. You can have one custom-made with their photo on it if you’d like. There are many other customization options too like bags, notepads, and so forth.

On the Sophisticated Side

  • Right on Time: Watches and clocks used to be traditionally given for retirement presents so you could celebrate the moment with one or the other and for an extra measure, consider having it engraved.

  • Jewelry: Jewelry makes a nice retirement gift but of course it can be pricey. Why not take up a collection for a group gift? Or you can find retirement-themed jewelry that is thoughtful but not outrageously expensive. Bracelets, pendants, charms, tie cuffs emblems, and earrings are among the most popular retirement pieces of jewelry.


  • A Crafty Gift: If the retiree has a hobby, you really can’t go wrong by adding to their arsenal. If he fishes – why not gift some lures or even a tackle box? Or if the guest of honor is a crafty one, art supplies would be ideal, perhaps.

  • Gift Card: Gift cards are perfect for retirees, especially for those who may not be as financially set up as they’d like to be. Think about what they like to buy, where they like to eat and drink, and what their interests are and you are sure to come up with a winner. If you are worried a gift card isn’t personal enough, you can customize it to their individualism. Give a gift card to their favorite hobby shop, restaurant, liquor store, or coffee shop.

💭 To Gift Or Not To Gift?

Whether you give a present at a retirement party is a personal call. You must weigh out the person, the situation, your relationship with the person and all other factors you can think of. There is no right or wrong answer and when in doubt, bring a gift and keep it in your car and if everyone else brings one, you can run out and get it.

Remember that it IS the thought that counts and anything beyond that is simply icing on the cake.

Cheryl Jerabek
Cheryl Jerabek
Cheryl is a professional writer that has been writing ever since she could hold a crayon. She has authored over 200 fiction and non-fiction books for teens and adults (both credited and ghost-written) on a wide range of subjects. Cheryl also writes blogs and articles on various topics and themes. Residing in a small mountain community in Southwest Colorado, Cheryl draws her inspiration from the gorgeous scenery, her 2 adult children, and 3 grandchildren. She enjoys traveling, party and event planning, and hanging out with family and friends. “I write so you don’t have to,” is Cheryl’s motto.

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