How To Throw a Great Retirement Party

Celebrating retirement party in the office

When someone at your office approaches retirement after 30 or so years of working, you don't give him a card, a cake, a few short words to make him feel better about waking up to empty days ahead, and then send him off into the sunset of his life. That's just not right. This man deserves a grand retirement party that will make him feel like a highly-decorated and bemedalled general! He's got his own war stories to tell and by golly, give him that by throwing a retirement party that will blow his socks off!
Here's how:

  • Speak to his wife. Call his wife and ask her if you and your colleagues at work could drop by their home without her husband knowing about it. Tell her it's because you all are planning a retirement party for her husband and would appreciate an interview to know him as husband, father, and granddad. If he is divorced from his wife, you can go to his kids instead.
  • Record the interview on tape and video. This will be the blueprint of your retirement party. From here you can draw up a script for the video that will be presented on the day of his retirement party.
  • Follow this up with interviews of his friends at work. Again, these interviews will be videotaped and looped into the video presentation.
  • Collect as many personal and professional photos of him. Photos of his wedding day, birthday, on vacation with family, with his friends, and another set of photos with him at work at his desk and with colleagues. Make sure the photos are candid, goofy, playful, and fun!
  • Divide and decorate the party tables into "times of his life." He is not just a soon-to-be-ex-employee. Here's how to divide the party tables to represent chapters in his life and decorating these tables with photos and memorabilia.
    • As a kid in elementary, high school, and college. Photos of which are sure kept in the attic at home. Yearbooks would be especially helpful. Decorate the table with his old books, uniform, jersey if he was a jock at school, a boy scout in elementary school, and whatever else you can find that will tie this in.
    • At camp during summer. Find his own personal camping stuff along with photos to decorate the table.
    • Graduating from college. As a lawyer or engineer perhaps? So then your next table should be decorated with his tools as a law or engineering student.
    • Dating life and getting married. Personal photos from when he was dating his wife until the time he asked for her hand in marriage.
    • Wedding anniversaries. What he and his wife wore and gifts they gave to each other as well as those that were given by friends.
    • Having kids and becoming a father. Photos of his wife in the hospital with his first born, second, third child, and youngest child. Bringing the kids to the park, the doctor. Having ice cream.
    • Hobbies. Fishing, bowling, and golfing equipment.
    • Collector. Comic books, mugs, stamps, watches and coins.
    • Community volunteer. Habitat for Humanity, Make a wish foundation, Stand up to cancer, or serving at the soup kitchen.
    • Colleague at work. At a meeting, chilling by the cooler, using the photocopier, etc.

    You can score all the décor and photos from his own home with the kind help and permission of his wife and kids.

  • Prepare marbles and a fish bowl. Inject humor into the speeches by asking each one to take a marble, make a speech, and afterward drop each marble into the fish bowl which means that for 30 or so years of working at the office, he has definitely lost his marbles along the way.
  • Present him with a money tree as a retirement gift. You and his friends at work can make a monetary pledge. Once you have all the collected cash, tape the bills individually on a bonsai tree and present this gift to him on his retirement party. He won't forget this kind gesture.
  • Sing to him. You and your friends can take it upon yourselves to practice a song for him on his retirement party. Here are some songs to choose from:
    • 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton
    • She/He works hard for the money by Donna Summer
    • Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees
    • The leader of the band by Dan Fogelberg
    • Unforgettable by Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole

This is quite a feat to achieve not to mention the hush-hush way of organizing the big day but if you do this coming from a place of service and generosity towards someone who has spent his long years working with you, the priceless smile and glint of tears on his face will make all the effort you put into this so much worthwhile.


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