Personalized Retirement Gifts That Stand Out

When we think of the typical personalized retirement gifts, we often think about the standard gold watch or glass plaque that has been engraved with a basic message of thanks. These gifts represent a job well done, but don’t always have the same meaning today as they once did. The average worker today will change their career path more than 5 times, so working 40 years at the same job is more of a rarity than ever before. When retiring, it is important to involve the whole career… not just the last job that was being worked.

That’s why a great retirement gift can take on many forms. You can still get the gold watch or the glass plaque as a gift, of course, but you can choose from a wide variety of options today. Here are some of the best ideas that are currently available to think about when you’d like to give a personalized retirement gift.

#1. Engraved Clocks

Up the ante from the gold watch and give a personalized clock instead. There are many different makes and models of clocks today that can offer a unique gift for a retiree. From marble to mahogany and everything in-between, you can put an inspirational message and the dates of a person’s work history onto the clock to make it a meaningful treasure that represents decades of hard work.

Some say that giving the gift of a clock is a bad idea or could be bad luck because it represents time that ticks by daily, which may be true for some retirees. For the most part, however, a beautiful clock with a thoughtful phrase or commemoration will be a touching gift that will be loved daily.

#2. Engraved Vases

You don’t need to put fresh flowers into an engraved vase to make it a memorable gift. Crystal vases are often used as trophies for great accomplishments and that’s how this personalized retirement gift will be seen. You can have an inspirational thought or meaningful commemoration placed directly onto the vase. If you want to spring for a little extra, gold embossing can add that final touch to make this an outstanding gift.

Another advantage of an engraved vase is that they come in many different sizes, shapes, and styles. This means you’ll be able to find the perfect retirement gift that fits the personality of the retiree and conveys something truly meaningful. If there is a trophy case at home, this gift will find its way there. If not, it will find a place of honor.

#3. Picture Frames

If you’re on a budget, but still want to provide someone with a personalized retirement gift, then consider the gift of a picture frame. Don’t forget to include a meaningful picture of you, the retiree, and perhaps your family or team all together. Picture frames can also be engraved with meaningful phrases or commemorations, but the space is a little more limited with this gift option than with the others. Photographs are special memories and help us all to recall the fun times that were had on that day, so you can almost never go wrong with this particular gift.

Engraved picture frames are available in wood, metal, and other materials. It all depends on the amount that you wish to spend. If you go to a hobby store or use a service like, you’ll be able to customize the size of your picture frame as well for a small added cost.

#4. World Globes

Although this isn’t a typical gift, it is one that can be personalized so it can be treasured. Globes are often given to a retiree as a representation of their universal impact they had in their career. It’s a great option for the worker who has changed their career multiple times, yet didn’t burn any bridges in the process. Everyone can get involved with this gift from the past and be able to say “thank you” in a meaningful way.

You have the option of having a fixed globe or one that rotates if you choose this type of gift. The fixed globe is usually a little cheaper, but may also make it seem like you’re giving the gift of a giant paperweight instead of something meaningful. Evaluate all of your options if this is the personalized retirement gift you want to give so that you can give something you believe will be truly treasured.

#5. Gravity Pens

This unique personalized retirement gift offers a pen and clock combination that is small, compact, and perfect for the home desk. Although it is a touch of modern that is reasonably affordable, it can still be a nice way for someone to be thankful for the work of a retiree as well. There’s a place on these stands to offer a commemoration and because this isn’t a gift that is usually given, it may show an added level of thoughtfulness to the retirement gift.

As an added bonus, the pen works in this set as well. Compliment the gift with a travel journal or retirement diary for that special added touch.

#6. Pocket Watches

There’s something special about a pocket watch that makes it stand out against the rest of the traditional retirement gifts. The front, inside, or back can all be personalized with a special message. Sometimes even images can be embossed onto the watch itself. These items are often passed down from generation to generation, which creates an instant heirloom for the family of the recipient. It may still just be a watch to some, but to others the symbolism of the pocket watch means more than the item itself.

If you’re looking for a way to increase the actual value of the pocket watch, think about adding a personalized chain to the watch. Instead of settling for the standard gold plated chain, look for other options that can create fond memories. Have co-workers, friends, and loved ones write short messages that can be wrapped around the chain or included inside the cover of the watch. Consider attaching charms, baubles, or other items of meaning at the joint of the chain and watch.

#7. Keepsake Boxes

This makes for a perfect personalized retirement gift because it can help a retiree store their treasured items in a meaningful place. It’s much like the hope chests of old, but at a smaller size. It could hold that gold watch, for example, or the notes of thanks for a job well done. There are many personalization options for a keepsake box, such as adding a musical component to it, mirrors, jewels, commemorations, or inspirational messages.

Keepsake boxes also come in a wide variety of materials. Mahogany and silver are the two most common versions that you’ll find today, but anything from gold to oak can also be purchased for a retiree and then customized. If you are honoring a craftsperson who is retiring, consider using something completely unique, such as olive wood, and carve the box on your own so that it has a deeper level of personal meaning.

#8. Money Clips

This is one of the most affordable personalized retirement gifts around right now, but it is also one of the most important that can be given. Money clips have been replaced by wallets and digital cash today, but not everyone uses those items. Cold, hard cash needs an effective way to be stored. A money clip is a great way to do that without the cash getting lost in a pocket or the world at large.

Money clips aren’t very large, so it is important to keep a personalized message short and concise. Express your thanks for a job well done, offer an inspirational thought, or consider having the retiree’s name placed on the money clip with no other personalization. It’s simple, but it is still thoughtful, and that’s ultimately what matters when it comes to a good retirement gift.

#9. Barware

Having a drink available, whether at the office or at home, is a nice thing to offer visitors. The drink may be important, but so is the barware that is available. Not everyone partakes, so proceed with caution, but glasses, decanters, and other needed items that commemorate a retirement can be the special gift that a retiree will love and use frequently. There is a difference between wine and hard liquor barware, so if your retiree loves scotch, don’t get them a decanter.

There’s even something for the beer lover with a tankard or a stein. These can be very ornamental, so including a commemoration within that decorative style can have a deep meaning for the individual receiving it.

Personalized retirement gifts might seem to be expensive at first, but they really can be quite affordable. Consider these options as you shop for a retirement gift and you may just discover that the perfect item has been waiting for you all along.

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