9 memorable retirement party ideas

Jthere were 28.6 million baby boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – who reported a retired status at the end of the third quarter of 2020. Suffice to say, that means there could be a lot of retirements to plan for in the foreseeable future.

A retirement party celebrates a retiree’s accomplishments and marks the beginning of a more relaxed lifestyle. However, not everyone is thrilled to enter this new phase of their life. So why not help make this transition something they look forward to with the following nine retirement party ideas?

1. Focus on speeches.

Traditionally, retirement parties involve speeches that honor the retiree’s contributions. And while that might not sound the most exciting, there’s nothing wrong with sticking to tradition.

The hosts of the party usually make a speech. But feel free to get co-workers, bosses, friends or family members in on the action. If you are giving a speech, the retiree’s list of accomplishments should be highlighted. But, you can also share their career trajectory or how they have helped their peers throughout their career.

Also, all guests should be included in the commemoration. This means allowing everyone to make their own remarks. In this case, it’s a good idea to mention it in the invitation so that everyone has time to think about what they would like to say. And be sure to emphasize that their feelings are safe for work.

Fortunately, there are ways to make this event more memorable. For example, when a colleague of mine retired, the party was held at an upscale hotel. Before the participants sat down for the official dinner, there was a cocktail party while the guests of honor delivered their speeches.

2. Choose a theme.

A theme can spice up any celebration, whether it’s a birthday or a retirement. Plus, there’s no shortage of themed retirement party ideas.

For example, if the retiree is moving to a beach resort, throw a beach-themed party. Just ask your guests to dress up in Hawaiian shirts or bathing suits while the office is decorated with inflatable palm trees. Or, you can go out and have a volleyball tournament or hula hop competition.

Some other theme ideas could be;

  • A casino night.
  • Decorate the workplace as the retiree’s favorite destination, like Paris or Tuscany.
  • An elegant and formal event, such as an all-white or black and white theme.
  • Become nostalgic by transporting everyone back to the decade the retiree was born.
  • A karaoke night.

3. Take one last exit.

Whether it’s company retreats, monthly luncheons, or winning and dining clients, the retiree has properly spent a lot of time with his co-workers outside of the office. So why not take one last outing together?

Perhaps the team could do one last team building activity by going on a scavenger hunt or visiting an escape room. Maybe everyone in the office could spend the afternoon at a baseball game. Or maybe the whole crew could go camping on the weekends.

Ideally, whatever you decide, it should be an excursion the retiree would enjoy. So, for example, if they’re not baseball fans at all, it wouldn’t make much sense. But if they are basketball fanatics, you can take them to this game instead.

4. Commemorate the retiree.

In addition to giving a retirement speech, here are other ways to celebrate the retiree:

  • Autograph book. Allow each guest to write something about the guest of honor in a blank book. Then you can invite everyone to participate in a Google Doc or slideshow for virtual celebrations.
  • Video interviews. Make a video of how guests remember the retiree’s contributions. They can be both former and current colleagues.
  • Roast Em. A roast is a way to make fun of someone and honor them at the same time. There should be speakers from different fields in the honoree’s life. Also, make sure the guest of honor has a good sense of humor. Don’t forget to also give the floor to the guest of honor at the end of the roast!
  • Bring in their favorite speaker. You may be able to invite the retiring colleague’s favorite speaker to the retirement party if you know who he is. They may, however, charge a fee.
  • “It’s your life.” The winner must be seated in front of everyone (or if the party is in a room on a stage) according to the famous TV show. Surprise your guest with several “surprises” at different stages of their life to share funny and touching stories.

5. Create something they will cherish forever.

It’s easy to forget a party, but the memories last a lifetime. For example, when my mother retired from teaching, her last class did crafts and cards which they presented to her on the last day. She actually framed most of these cards and proudly displayed them at home. So Samantha Moss, editor and content ambassador at Romantific, recommends creating something that retirees can take with them and look back on years from now.

“Sending an employee on a high note is a great way to express our gratitude for their years of contribution to the organization,” said Samantha. “And, to make someone’s retirement party even more special, one thing you can do is prepare a video or create a memory book for them.”

“Ask each employee to share their unforgettable memories, thank them and offer their best wishes to the member of your team who is retiring,” she suggests. “And you can also include in the video or reserve the career highlights or accomplishments of the retiring employee.”

6. Play games.

The pensioner has probably been used to all work and no play. But now, in their life after work, they will have to learn to love to play. So what better way to get them on their way than getting everyone involved in some retirement party games?

  • Quiz show. Wouldn’t it be fun to create a quiz about the retiree’s life and work accomplishments? Then consider rewarding the person who knows the most answers with a prize.
  • Goodbye tie. If the pensioner wore a tie or some other uniform, perhaps you can make a pillow out of it.
  • Smashing success, break the alarm clock. The alarm clock plays a vital role in our daily life. Getting the honoree and other guests to smash an alarm clock with a hammer or mallet (at the last minute) can be fun and even a little cathartic. Consider buying an alarm clock from a thrift store or eBay to protect your budget. And be sure to make safety a priority too!
  • Pin something — How about pinning a book, a fishing rod, or hanging a bottle of sunscreen around the retiree’s neck?
  • Go virtual. If you have a remote teamWhere the COVID-19 pandemic continued to make in-person events impossible, consider virtual retirement games. Some ideas would be “Never Have I Ever” or retirement bingo.

7. Build the party around the retiree’s favorite hobbies.

You can also organize the party around the retiree’s favorite hobbies. For example, a golf tournament could be organized at a local club for them if they are serious golfers. And then a happy hour could be held at a local bar and grill.

Build the party around a potluck theme or host a chili for the guest of honor if he’s a foodie. Or, if they’re proud grandparents, throw an outdoor party where there’s a ton of games for the whole family.

8. Support a local business.

The extent of this will depend on how many guests will be attending, as well as your budget. Also, you may want to consider the preferences of the guest of honor. For example, if they’re introverted, you might have breakfast or a tasting at a local winery. For the extroverts, you can throw a party at a local banquet hall.

9. Do it for charity.

Raise funds for the retiree’s favorite charity while having fun at the party is a great way to raise funds for the retiree. Organizing a golf tournament or a 5K run for the guest of honor’s favorite cause(s) is one way to do this. You might even volunteer as a team one last time.

Rather than bringing gifts, ask guests to raise money for a good cause. And, you can make it easier to give before, during, and after the party using digital fundraising tools like Facebook Fundraisers and Charity Miles.

By John Rampton for Due.com.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

About Catharine C. Bean

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