Thoughtful retirement gift basket ideas for your coworker

If you stay at a job long enough, you will start to see coworkers come and go. Once you get to know someone, you will experience major life changes with them, like new births or the passing on of loved ones. A huge event in your coworker’s life is a retirement and I’ve come to learn that it’s something to celebrate. This article contains thoughtful retirement gift basket ideas for your coworkers and loved ones.

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I can’t even imagine the transition from a career to retirement. One of my friends retired a few years ago after thirty years in the state judiciary system. She was quite young, in her 50’s, and I was so excited for her. 

When I asked her about her upcoming retirement, the response I got was far from exciting. She was incredibly nervous and worried that the transition would be difficult. This is the point where it hit me that retirement is a big deal.

As a coworker, I feel like it’s part of my job to aid in the celebration of this transition to retirement. For me, it’s a way to show that I genuinely care about this person and the transition they are about to make. When my boss retired in 2020, my coworker and I looked for retirement gift basket ideas and came up with some on our own.

Retirement gift basket ideas

retirement gift basket ideas

I like the idea of a retirement gift basket because multiple people or coworkers can contribute. In fact, I think it’s better than individual gifts because you end up with a very diverse, meaningful gift basket to send your coworker into retirement.

What are their hobbies or interests?

When I created my first retirement gift basket, I had to think about the hobbies and interests of the retiring person. What do they do outside of work? Are they devoted parents or grandparents? What types of food do they eat? What do they drink?

After you spend a significant time with someone at work, chances are you will have an inkling of what you want to get them. But if you are stuck, here are some additional ideas.

Thoughtful retirement gift basket ideas

  1. Personalized, engraved plaque. These can be a little pricey but costs are usually split between coworkers. When I left the Public Defender’s Office after two years, I received an engraved plaque thanking me for two years of service. It was the best departing gift ever and I wasn’t even retiring.
  2. Leather journal. This a great gift for any retiree for journaling, taking notes or jotting down important information or ideas. You can also get a gratitude journal.
  3. Books. You can gift a book related to retirement life, “101 Fun Things To Do in Retirement,” or reading for fun, “Becoming” by Michelle Obama. If you’ve read something amazing recently, purchase a copy and put it in the retirement gift basket.
  4. Chocolate. There’s nothing like a nice box of chocolate to let someone know that you care for them.
  5. Gift cards. For experiences like a cup of coffee, a meal, or a trip to the bookstore.
  6. Retirement coloring book. I love gifting adult coloring books for different occasions, some of them are hilarious. When I found this one, I knew it would be a great addition to the retirement gift basket along with some felt tip pens.
  7. Teapot or tea kettle set. When my boss retired in 2020, my coworker wanted to get her a nice bottle of wine or alcohol but we had no clue whether she even drinks alcohol. The only thing we ever saw her drink was water. A tea kettle set was more appropriate and is more meaningful than a bottle of wine, in my opinion.
  8. Spa items like candles, bath bubbles, bath salts, unique and handmade body soaps, and lip balm.
  9. Plants with pretty pots. This may be just me but I love receiving plants as gifts. 

Practical retirement gift basket ideas

Sometimes it’s nice to save your retiree a shopping trip or two and get him or her everyday, practical items. A little thought goes a long way.

  1. Water bottle. For all the walks and car trips that your retiree will be taking when they retire.
  2. Face masks. Since none of us know how long we will have to wear face masks, these are a cute, practical item to add to a retirement gift basket.
  3. Hand sanitizer.
  4. Hand lotion. Who doesn’t need hand lotion to accompany all the extra hand washing we’ve been doing lately? Some cool brands are Burt’s Bees, O’Keefe’s, and Love, Beauty, and Planet.
  5. Boxes of tea, hot cocoa, or K-cups. I remember when the Keurig first became popular, I received a box of variety K-cups from my brother for Christmas.

Incorporating sentiment

For my first retirement gift basket, I attached little notes to the gifts using heavy stock paper and twine. Thank you, Pinterest. To do this, you will need twine, pieces of heavy stock paper, and a hole puncher. I opted to print out my notes instead of hand-writing them, it just looked nicer.

So, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Relax…You’ve got nowhere to be!
  • World’s Longest Coffee Break or World’s Longest Chocolate Break
  • Indulge, you’ve earned it!
  • We’ll be blue without you.

Candy bar posters

I never heard of candy bar posters until 2020, go figure. That’s the year we all got creative, right? My coworker made a retirement candy bar poster for our boss and it was pretty funny. In fact, our boss had a great laugh. Things you will need for a candy bar poster: a large poster board, markers to write with, and candy bars.

Usually, it starts out with Dear Retiree, followed by phrases that incorporate the candy bars.

  • We were going to give you 100 Grand for your retirement but the money slipped through our Butterfingers.
  • We didn’t think a trip to New York or an Orbit around the Milky Way would be appropriate.
  • I want to wish you Mounds of Almond Joy as you Crunch through this card.
  • Be careful not to get too Chunky during retirement or you might hear the Snickers.

This can go on and on. There are so many options to be creative with this. It also makes for great Instagram and Facebook moments.

Why gifts baskets are better than gift cards

retirement gift basket ideas

Gift cards are great and useful. Everyone loves a gift card but they are not as personal or as meaningful as a retirement gift basket accompanied by a candy bar poster. Your future retiree will know that you spent time, thought, and love on the retirement gift basket versus simply picking up a gift card.

On the other hand, it is nice to include smaller amount gift cards as part of the retirement gift basket for experiences like a cup of coffee, a meal, a trip to the bookstore, or even a trip to the zoo or aquarium.

Final thoughts on retirement gift basket ideas

Retirement is a big moment in an individual’s life and it should be celebrated as such. A retirement gift basket is a great idea for coworkers to pool their time, energy, and creativity for the perfect send-off. I hope this article sparked some great ideas for your next retirement gift basket!

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