Today’s Retirement Parties Are Anything But Snooze-worthy
These days, a retirement party is more about celebrating a new beginning than looking back as you near the end of your employment. Retirement used to be all about spending your “golden years” in peace, but now, retirement parties are seen as more of a launch pad. As such, throwing a great retirement party involves celebrating the retiree's next steps in life, which often include a move to a new location or the freedom to pursue a passion or travel.
While the millennial generation, who is the youngest in the workforce at this time, generally views old age as starting around early-retirement marker of 59 years, most baby boomers say that they will not even begin to be “old” until they are 73. Generation X marks “old” as beginning at 65. The lesson here to anyone planning a retirement party is that you should be sensitive to the fact that a conventional retiree leaving the workforce somewhere between 62 and 65 years of age will not consider themselves “old” or nearing it.
Instead of focusing on the opportunities now afforded the retiree to sit peacefully on the porch, rocking and watching the world go by, make some great memories at their retirement party for them to carry into the next phase of their life. You might even celebrate a move, if they are planning one. Historically many retirees have moved to Florida, but these days they also flock to areas like Charleston, SC, and Colorado Springs, CO. Highlighting the next exciting part of the retiree’s life with a theme related to their retirement destination is a great way to make fantastic memories while celebrating their future plans.
Treat This Party Like a Party
Experts in planning celebrations for individuals 50 and older say that in today’s world of health and longevity, a party should be a real party with lots of activities and entertainment. If the celebrant has a hobby like golf or paddle boarding, then you might want to incorporate that into the theme of the party. Other popular themes include “favorite things,” which is great for long-time employees leaving a workplace where they have lots of shared history with others, and “black and white” theme, which provides a modern feel and allows for guests and the honoree themselves to be the “pop of color” at the event.
Retirement Milestones Should Be Celebrated
Most of us have attended at least one retirement “party” that tried, overly hard, to avoid mentioning the fact that the individual was leaving the company. Especially when younger employees are planning a party for the retiree, remember that milestones in life, like retirement, are meant to be celebrated. Often, this involves celebrating more milestones.
Take the time to do a little digging into the retiree’s history, staying in the public record of course, and find out if there are any work milestones that should be recognized. Did that individual head up a company-changing project? Have they been employed with the company for decades? Did they run a marathon in celebration of their 60th birthday? Not all of these milestones are directly work-related, but they are all things you might celebrate during a truly enjoyable retirement bash.
Let The Games Begin
Earlier, we mentioned retirement parties should be treated like the parties they are. That includes planning some activities for guests to enjoy. Remember, in many cases these people work together rather than spending lots of social time together, so they may lack mutual interests or have difficulty maintaining prolonged conversations. Include some subtle conversation-starters in your decor, such as question cards on the tables or ice-breaker activities about 15 minutes after the start of the event to keep energy high and conversation flowing for a memorable retirement party everyone, including the guest of honor, will enjoy.