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These Retirement Gifts for Your Female Friends and Colleagues Will Show Them You Care

Something for everyone — from the goofy friend to the adventure seeker.

Retirement: it means something a little bit different to every woman. We look forward to it for years, but when the big day arrives, we’re caught up in complicated feelings about the passage of time. Shopping for the perfect retirement gift might seem like an impossible task, but don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.

We’ve gathered a collection of perfect retirement gifts for every woman in your life, from friends and colleagues to your sisters and mothers.

Step One: Consider your relationship.

Before picking out a great retirement gift, it’s important to consider your relationship with the retiree. How long have you known her? What kind of relationship do you have? Is she a coworker, a friend, or a family member?

If you’re shopping for a coworker you’ve known for a year, you’d likely want to get her something classy and fun — maybe related to her interests (if you know them), but generic is okay, too. If you’re shopping for your best girlfriend, on the other hand, you definitely need to find something personal and thoughtful.

Retirement gifts are all about context. Spend some time thinking about what kind of relationship you have with the retiree, and it will help you narrow your search for a meaningful item that will help to usher in her next chapter in life.

What retirement gift should I get for a coworker?

Watching someone you’ve worked with day in and day out retire can be bittersweet. Depending on your relationship with her, you might feel a mixture of jealousy, sadness, and happiness — and all of that is okay!

Take some time to reflect on how long you’ve known your coworker and how her retirement fits into her larger work history. Is she retiring from a 40-year career? Or just transitioning from full-time to part-time work? Any type of retirement is worthy of a celebration. But larger milestones mean a larger retirement gift. Here are a few ideas:

  • Clothing or personal items. Good retirement gifts for coworkers can often be casual, like a gift card to a new clothing store she’s obsessed with. Or you can get a little more personal with work-related memorabilia such as a personalized paperweight, coffee mug, or tote bag. If you’ve been in her house, think about what home decor would really shine in her living room.
  • An office-wide party. Our favorite retirement present for a coworker is a collaborative gift (and a party). Talk to your other coworkers and see if everyone will pitch in for a special send-off, like a brunch or luncheon together. Include a signed card, flowers, balloons, and champagne. There’s no better way to make the new retiree feel appreciated than with a retirement party.

What should I get for a retiring friend?

Just like with a coworker, shopping for a retiring friend requires you to reflect on your relationship with the retiree. In this case, you likely know a little bit more about her, so you can make your gift a little more thoughtful and personal. Here are a few gift ideas for a friend:

  • Gardening tools. Think about her interests or hobbies, and give her something fun but useful. For instance, maybe she’s growing an herb garden in her backyard. Get her a cute set of garden gloves and matching garden tools. (These also make wonderful birthday gifts.)
  • Art-themed gifts. Does she have an interest in the arts? Get her a nice set of watercolors, a coffee table book of art, or wall art related to another interest of hers! The best retirement gift ideas relate to what you already know about the new retiree, including her interests, whether they’re new hobbies or old ones.
  • Funny retirement gifts. Now, if we’re talking about a close friend, someone you’ve known for years, you can get even more personal — maybe incorporate an inside joke or a pun into your gift, like a wine glass that says, “I can WINE all I want — I’m retired!” If she’s got a good sense of humor, maybe she’d appreciate a gag gift.
  • Experience-based gifts. Our favorite retirement gift for a close friend is the gift of an experience. Does she like going to the spa? Book her a weekend spa experience or a nice massage. Double points if the experience is something you can do together. Along with a spa experience, perhaps include a gift basket of the best new skincare products to encourage her to take time for herself.

Maybe the spa isn’t her thing but she loves the theater. In this case, get two tickets and take her to a show. Celebrating the new retiree by spending time with her is the way to go.

When brainstorming the perfect retirement gift for a loved one, an experience will beat a retirement mug or gift card any day. And the retirement gift she’ll remember longest is the gift of your time and company.

What should you get for the adventurer seeker?

When it comes to financial freedom during retirement, most experts tend to focus on saving and investing your money. But some of your greatest adventures might happen after retirement when you finally have the savings and freedom to tackle your bucket list. Here’s what to get an adventure seeker:

  • Useful travel accessories. If your retiree has big travel plans post-retirement, consider getting her a gift that points towards all the adventures she is sure to have. Some adventure-themed gift ideas we love include personalized luggage tags, passport holders, and a bucket list journal. Consider a cork globe with push pins for all the places she’s been.

Functional travel items also make great gifts for retirees. You might get her a pair of binoculars for whale watching on her Alaskan cruise (dare to dream!) or a nice piece of carry-on luggage. For the wine lover, try a nice bottle of wine and a personalized stainless steel wine tumbler.

Retirement doesn’t signify the end of our accomplishments. It’s simply a transition into the next stage of life, when we might tackle more personal bucket list items. Think about the retiree’s interests and your budget, and work from there to come up with an adventurous gift that she’ll love. The ideal farewell gift will make her newly-discovered free time even sweeter.

What should you get for the ex-workaholic?

One of the best (and scariest) parts about being newly retired is all the time that you suddenly have to yourself. Help your retired loved one get excited for this with some self-care and pampering. Here’s a place to start:

  • Self-care items. You might try putting together a self-care gift basket for the new retiree, personalizing it to match her interests. For instance, if she’s a writer, you could include a beautiful new journal, an engraved ballpoint pen, and a gift card to her favorite bookstore. Make it a gift set complete with a bookmark!

Retired women finally have more time to themselves. If she likes being pampered, include some nice body oils, bath bombs, and a gift card to the spa.

If you’re shopping for a coworker you don’t know so well, stick with the tried and true: cute face masks, nail polish, and a bottle of champagne are sure to be well-received. You might also put together a movie lover’s gift basket: popcorn, candy, and a DVD of that new romcom make for a fabulous home movie night.

Being able to slow down and devote time to pampering yourself is one of the great gifts of being retired. Whether she’s a coworker, friend, or loved one, any new retiree is sure to appreciate the gift of self-care.

What should you get for the highly accomplished retiree? 

Is the new retiree celebrating the end of a long and prestigious career? Or maybe she has specific accomplishments from her work that she’s extra proud of. There’s no better way to celebrate a new retiree than with a retirement gift that honors a successful career.

Think about getting her something personalized or engraved: a paperweight, a coffee mug, or a plaque to hang on the wall of her home office. If she’s retiring from a long career in journalism, you might put together a portfolio of her greatest articles. If she’s retiring from a career in law, you might get her a funny t-shirt: World’s Greatest (Retired) Lawyer.

The more unique personalized gift you wrap, the more special and honored your loved one will feel. And don’t be afraid to combine more than one fun gift idea. Perhaps you throw her a nice retirement party and get her the silly T-shirt as a bonus. Or have a beautiful bouquet delivered to her office on her last day, and then gift her with personalized wine glasses at your next get-together.

The Takeaway

The transition from a full-blown career into retirement can be both exciting and scary. It’s important to show the women in your life that you’re here for them as they pursue a happy retirement, and a thoughtful and unique retirement gift is a great way to do that! Whether you spend hours picking out the perfect retirement gift or decide to stick with a simple gift card, don’t forget the most important part: your kind words and your presence, letting her know that you’re here for her as she embarks on an exciting new chapter in her life.

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