25 Great Last-Minute Retirement Gift Ideas


Contributing writer, former long-term care admissions counselor and social worker

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Can you guess the average retirement age among current retirees?

Overview: Our Top Picks

Inexpensive Retirement Gifts

Unique Retirement Gifts

Practical Retirement Gifts

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The answer might surprise you. No, it’s not 65 or 70—it’s 59.88! When you have loved ones or co-workers rounding the bend toward retirement (quicker than you expected!), grab your wallet. You don’t want to miss out on congratulating them on their newfound freedom. 

Here are some last-minute gift ideas. 

Tip: Growing older and going into retirement also means watching your friends and family members grow older, too. And that often means coping with loss and grief. If you know a retiree who's coping with a loss, our post-loss checklist may be able to help.

Cheap or Inexpensive Retirement Gift Ideas

Inexpensive Retirement Gift Ideas

There’s no need to break the bank. After all, you may be snagging a gift for a friend you never see outside of work. Stick to this list if you don’t want to spend more than a few dollars on a gift.

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1. Card 

It’s always nice to give a coworker or loved one a fancy gift to commemorate decades of work, but it’s not always necessary.

A card filled with kind words can fit the bill. (Consider making this a DIY project, too!) 

2. Photo with co-workers 

Stick the company-wide holiday photo in a nice frame or organize a new photo with the retiree’s close office friends.

It’ll be a nice keepsake so they will always remember the good times in the office. 

3. Goodie bag of lunchtime staples

Did you eat lunch with your co-worker every day? You might have seen them eat the same things over and over or know their favorites.

Throw together their favorite chips, soda, and candy bar in a dollar store basket with a bow. This gift shows you care — and that you paid attention throughout the years. 

4. Coffee mug 

Just because your co-worker no longer has to wake up at the crack of dawn to beat the traffic doesn’t mean they won’t still require coffee.

A coffee mug is a great option because they come in so many shapes, sizes, colors, and themes — and yes, you can get a mug that features a wisecrack about retirement! 

5. Scratch-off lottery tickets

Scratch-off lottery tickets can be a fun option. Purchase these at a gas station or drug store. You can buy tickets for as low as $1. You never know what your co-worker might win! 

Unique Retirement Gift Ideas

Not as concerned about the price tag and want to gift something unique instead? Here are some original ideas your retiree will enjoy. 

6. Luggage

Retirement equals lots of free time! Most people won’t buy luggage for themselves, so it’s a great gift for someone whose schedule has recently opened up.

You can buy small luggage bags to full luggage collections. Any of these pieces or the full collection gets the point across — you want your loved one to get cracking on that bucket list

7. Materials for a new hobby 

Maybe your co-worker or loved one hasn’t been bitten by the travel bug. Instead, maybe they've talked about taking up a hobby.

Gather a small starter kit. For example, if your co-worker is interested in painting, buy a kit with a canvas, paint, and paintbrushes from Amazon or a local art supply store.

8. Hammock 

Years of answering to the boss at a nine-to-five job might not mean jumping right into something else at the start of retirement. A hammock offers a new way to enjoy being at home.

Buy a standing hammock or one that requires two trees close together. Scope out your co-worker’s backyard before you decide which type is best! 

9. Customized shirts/socks

You can buy socks that say, “If you can read this, I’m retired. Get me the remote!” or shirts that read, “This guy’s retired.”

Use Amazon to check out the hundreds of funny options you can choose from.

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10. Subscription box

Gift your retiree a subscription box by pre-paying for however long you’d like him to receive the box. This is a fun way for your retiree to look forward to a gift.

Subscription boxes come in many different forms, from food and drink to clothes and entertainment. There are subscriptions available for self-care items, craft projects, coffee, and more. You’ll need to know your retiree’s shipping address for the shipment and you’ll be all set! 

DIY Retirement Gift Ideas

DIY Retirement Gift Ideas

Gifts are made even more special when you invest personal time to make them yourself. DIY retirement gifts are just as appreciated as expensive gifts. Here’s what you can make with your own two hands.  

11. Cook or bake something

Get in the kitchen and bake some cookies or make a cake that says, “Farewell, Susan!” Food is the way to many people's hearts and is a great gift. 

12. Scrapbook 

Compile various photos, ticket stubs, Post-it Notes, and other items into a fun scrapbook. This option may even bring a tear to your loved one or co-worker’s eye. 

13. Throw a party

Throwing a party can be quite an endeavor (and that in itself is a gift). Check out DIY crafts on Pinterest and browse party decorations on Amazon for party theme ideas.

14. A “punny” gift 

Do you plan to DIY a gift to save money? If so, there are some low-cost ways to do it with “punny” phrases, like a bunch of suckers that say, “Work will suck without you!” or a coffee gift card that says, “Enjoy the world's longest coffee break!” 

15. Artwork 

It’s always an honor to receive artwork. A painting, pottery, anything you take the time to create for someone is meaningful and will be appreciated! 

Practical Retirement Gift Ideas

Practical gifts are tried and true — but no doubt graciously accepted. Here are some ideas.

16. Alcohol 

It’s time to celebrate a good-bye to decades of 6 a.m. alarms, 2-hour meetings, and working past 5 p.m. on a Friday. Cheers! 

17. Restaurant gift card 

A gift card to your retiree's favorite restaurant is also a great option. After all, dinners out of the house just taste better once you’re retired. 

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18. Flowers

Flowers are a basic (but great!) congratulatory gift. Grab a dozen last minute on your way into your co-worker’s final day of work!

19. Retirement magazines 

Retirement magazines offer subscriptions that bring information about insurance, taxes, health, entertainment, and everything in between to your door. All you need is a name and address to gift a subscription to a retiree.

20. Paperweight or plaque

Look for a paperweight, plaque, crystal, or another similar object like this crystal clear acrylic award that can be engraved with the retiree’s name, year, and other information.

This is a nice way to pay tribute to your loved one’s time at a company, positions they held, and things they accomplished. 

Fun Retirement Gift Ideas

Fun Retirement Gift Ideas

Retirement looks different to each person. To some, it’s all rest and relaxation. To others, it’s all about vacationing or moving to warmer weather. Some retirees might even be bored! Here are some gift ideas to infuse more fun into retirement.

Read our guide on the best funny retirement gifts for coworkers if you're looking for more.

21. Beach supplies 

Beach supplies can be a fun gift for retired beachgoers! You can never have too many fresh new beach towels.

Beach towels and sunglasses can get your retiree excited for what’s to come. You might also throw in a beach umbrella and cooler

22. Adult coloring books 

It might sound silly, but adult coloring books have become pretty popular.

They pass the time, help you decompress, and help with anxiety. Different themes can be filled in with colored pencils or markers. 

23. Golf tees 

Is your coworker or loved one a golfer? If so, the only thing on their mind is probably their next tee time. Golf balls and golf tees might be enough of a gift — or go bigger with some gloves, clubs, or a bag. This golf set from Amazon would be a great present for an avid golfer.

24. Movie theatre gift cards 

The couch is the only place most people watch movies these days. But it can be nice to get out and experience the theatre every once in a while.

Movie theatre gift cards are a fun way to get your retiree out of the house to do something they may not have done in years. 

25. A local lesson 

Another great option for a gift is a lesson or class. A simple Google search can offer cooking, dancing, golfing lessons (and more) near you. You can also consider gifting a subscription to Babbel or MasterClass so your retiree can learn something new from anywhere.

Find the Right Gift 

Your coworker or loved one bookends a huge part of life when they retire, so whatever you do, don’t miss out on the party if there is one. 

Don’t forget to choose a gift! Even if you pick up the gift on your way to the party, it’ll be appreciated. 

If you're looking for more ideas, read our guides on the best retirement gift ideas for women and retirement party etiquette.


  1. “Average Retirement Age in the United States.” Don’t Quit Your Day Job. dqydj.com/average-retirement-age-in-the-united-states/ 

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