When choosing a small token of thanks and recognition for your boss, prioritize thoughtfulness over showiness. The best retirement gifts demonstrate the receiver's value and importance to the company and its culture. Think about ways to show your boss that while her absence in the office will be felt, you're happy to support her as she moves forward into the next chapter of her life.
General Office Gift Guidelines
It's usually not appropriate to give a boss alcohol, and such a gift might ruffle feathers in HR. Never give your boss any gift that you would give a sweetheart for Valentine’s Day, such as perfume, lingerie or expensive jewelry. Think about how you would feel if this gift were to be opened in front of all of your co-workers. If you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed at the idea of everyone seeing your present then it may not be appropriate for the office. Avoid gag gifts that make jokes about growing old or getting “over the hill.”
Hobbies and New Pursuits
Think about your boss and her favorite hobbies or pursuits. Listen carefully when she talks about her plans for retirement. If she intends to focus more time or energy on her hobbies, give a gift that will help her pursue her interests. If she has discussed spending more time working on her watercolor paintings, for example, consider giving her a beautifully wrapped watercolor block or a set of fine brushes. Other thoughtful gifts include seedlings for gardeners, a new field guide for a birder or a special camera strap for a photographer.
Catching Up on Reading
A digital e-reader can be a good retirement gift for a boss who never had much time for pleasure reading because she was so busy working. Ask around the office to see who might be interested in chipping in $5 or $10 each to buy a device to give as a group gift. Present it to your boss loaded with classic books and titles you know she would enjoy. Include a personalized card with a message like “You can finally put your feet up and enjoy those mystery novels you love.” Include a gift card for future book downloads.
Consider Her Contributions
Your boss may appreciate receiving a gift that celebrates her contributions to the company. Be creative and specific to the work she did. These kinds of gifts could include a framed map of her sales territory, a framed blueprint of a building she helped build or an engraved trophy with her title and dates of service. You can also use a photo her celebrating a great company achievement like ringing a bell at the stock exchange or delivering an important speech. Invite all of her employees to sign a photo before the picture is framed.