Retirement Gift Etiquette

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Retirement signals yet another of life's milestones. The new retiree has put in her years of dedication and hard work and now deserves to relax and enjoy life as a retiree. The company and sometimes family or friends will host retirement parties to honor the retiree. Whether a party is planned or not, gifts are often presented to the retiree by the company, family or friends.

Invitation Guidelines

  • When sending invitations to a retirement party, do not mention gifts. While it is polite and common for attendees to bring a gift, it is not required. The only mention of gifts that is acceptable on the invitation is if the retiree requests no gifts to be given. Then you would say, "No gifts, please" on the invitation.

    Guests should not be asked to pay for anything, including their own dinner, unless it's a company-sponsored event, and that fact has been stated ahead of time. It is considered rude to spread the word that the retiree would like to receive particular gifts. No mention of gifts should be made whatsoever.

Giving Gifts

  • It may not be required or expected to offer a gift to the retiree, but it is good manners. The polite thing to do is to attend the retirement party with a card and gift. Even if there is no party, offer some sort of gift to the retiree.

    The type of gift and amount of money you spend should be determined by how well you know the retiree, as well as your own personal budget. For instance, for a dear friend, a personalized plaque or new golf clubs for the golfer would be appropriate. Gift certificates work for anyone giving a gift. Purchase certificates to stores you know she shops at, or a spa you know she enjoys. Add to her collections or give something she can do, such as pottery or cooking classes.

    If you have no idea what she might enjoy, try a Visa, MasterCard or American Express gift card, so she can spend the gift money however she likes.

Receiving Gifts

  • Thank everyone for their offers of congratulations. Read each card and treasure every gift. Verbally thank everyone for the gifts they give you, and take note of what came from whom. When the celebrations die down, send a thank-you note to each and every person who attended and presented a gift. Emailing your expressions of gratitude or calling is completely acceptable, as long as you acknowledge and thank everyone.

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