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25+ best retirement gifts, according to experts

binoculars, coloring book, guitar, tandem bike, Echo Show 15
Their retirement plan includes these awesome treats. (Photos: Amazon)

The day has finally come for your boss, work wife, real wife, parent or friend to retire. Never having to clock in again is the ultimate gift (truly...), but it's an awesome gesture and fun tradition to mark this life-changing occasion with an inspired, unforgettable offering, a.k.a. an amazing retirement gift.

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We spoke with some experts, including authors Fritz Gilbert (Keys to a Successful Retirement), Jessica Bruder (Nomadland) as well as a human resources pro and a few of the coolest retirees we know about the ultimate retirement sendoff. They agreed that what we give is a deeply personal matter and that many of the greatest gifts are open-ended and forward-looking — like an electric bike or a lifetime National Parks pass. (Spoiler alert: You won't find any rocking chairs on this list.)

"The perfect retirement gift is one that seeks to attract the curiosity of the recipient," Gilbert told Yahoo Life. "Find something they've mentioned they're interested in exploring, and buy a gift that stimulates their exploration."

"I didn't retire to lead a mediocre life," added Sandra Glazer, a retired New York City legal secretary and lifelong merrymaker now dancing up a storm in New Orleans. She suggests zeroing in on the recipient's true passion and give "gifts that help them live their best retirement."

With our experts' sage advice as a guide, we present 25+ memorable and useful gifts for the lucky and deserving retirees in your life.

One first-class upgrade
Coach

Coach Wheeled Carry On In Signature Canvas

A Coach carry-on elevates any excursion. Made of durable Cordura, Coach’s signature coated canvas and refined calf leather, this piece is as functional as it is beautiful. It's lightweight and a breeze to manage with 360-degree spinning wheels and a retractable handle. And it has every compartment they could want.
$695 at Coach

Retirement is "the time to do what you've always wanted to do," Gilbert told Yahoo Life. Honestly, everyone we spoke with mentioned travel. Send them off in style with this gem of a bag . If your budget doesn't allow for this price point, then consider this stellar Samsonite hardside carry-on that's also built to last.

A nice stay
Amazon

Airbnb Gift Card, $100

Have them choose their own adventure with an Airbnb gift card (or 10). They'll be able to stay most anywhere in the world or choose an experience, such as a cooking class, a city tour, even howling with wolves.
$100 at Amazon

And the first thing many people want to do when they walk out that door is book it out of town. Gilbert suggests gifting "a few nights in an AirBnB in a location you know they love." Better yet, let them choose the spot(s) with an Airbnb e-card (any amount) or a physical gift card.

A ticket to nature
NPS

National Parks Pass, Lifetime Senior Pass

Grant them a lifetime of free access to National Parks.
$80 at USGS

Nomadland author Bruder suggests a National Parks pass. "Annual passes can be gifted. And for 62+ there’s a lifetime senior pass — the America the Beautiful pass — that the user needs to buy. But one could give them a digital national parks gift card for that purpose."

The truth is, not everyone gets to ditch work when they retire, as Bruder illustrated in her book. Many continue on in the gig economy or with other jobs. But mini trips to connect with nature are an awesome respite and can be weaved into a busy schedule.

Eagle-eye vision
Amazon

Nikon Monarch M5 8x42 binoculars

$285
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's super-sight! They'll see faraway things — up to 335 feet away, bright and clear with these easy-focus binoculars. The rubber coating helps with grip and protects these precious specs against fumbles. Forbes and Wired both named them the best binoculars of the year.
$285 at Amazon

Nature travelers, backyard birders and sports fans alike will cherish these lightweight Nikon Monach M5 binoculars. They offer a wide view in high-res and offer great comfort even to glasses wearers. This is just the type of gift that, as Gilbert said, "stimulates their exploration."

A verrrry modern frame
Amazon

Aura Carver WiFi Digital Picture Frame, 10.1”

$149
Preload this digital photo frame with fun photos and videos from their office days along with plenty of well-wishes. Storage is unlimited via the Aura app so they can use it for all kinds of display-worthy memories.
$149 at Amazon

Eva Markowitz, a human resources v.p., said, "A unique, personal gift is the best way to acknowledge a retirement." She recalled an example from years ago: "We invited employees to record a brief farewell message for [our CEO], and we spliced them together into a video that we played at his retirement party. We put the video on a USB drive engraved with a message and gifted it to him after the party."

The Aura Carver is a modern way to pull this sentimental gift idea together. Load it up, put a bow on it and all they'll have to do is turn it on. Even their grandkids will be able to send photos to the device!

A doozy of a show
Amazon

Echo Show 15 with Alexa Voice Remote (3rd Gen) and Tilt Stand

$288$313Save $25
This gift checks all the boxes, including being Oprah-approved. It's a one-stop hub for all things Alexa. They can manage their calendar (yep, retirees stay busy), stream shows, control Alexa devices and display photos. It includes a voice remote and can be mounted on a wall or perched on a tabletop.
$288 at Amazon

An alternate way to present a staff surprise is via the wildly popular Echo Show 15. Stream a team video or display a photo timeline on using the Photo Frame feature. The 15 itself is an versatile gift they'll be able to use for years to come. It offers at-a-glance organization, entertainment, news and so much more. The handy device even made Oprah's Favorite Things 2022 list.

A salty salud
Williams Sonoma

Williams Sonoma Margarita Gift Set

Four classy hand-blown glasses with hand-painted gold rims come with charming charms that tell whose drink is whose. The beautiful, all-natural red oak salt rimmer takes this gift over the top.
$130 at Williams Sonoma

We all hope retirement will mean more time with friends, both old and new! Help them bring everyone together over margaritas with this gorgeous set. Social butterfly Glazer loves to "meet up with friends...for a drink and conversation." Retiring and moving to New Orleans as the pandemic hit "put quite the cramp in what I thought I would be doing." A set like this lets one throw a little party any ol' time they please.

A few new tricks
Masterclass

Masterclass Membership, 2 for 1

$180$240Save $60
This 2-for-1 membership deal grants two people unlimited access to 180+ wonderful classes for a year. So go ahead and buy entry for your retiring friend and gift the other to yourself.
$180 at Masterclass

Any gift that lets them delve into their hobbies, Gilbert said, is a good one. We noticed that Masterclass happens to have a two-for-one membership deal going on now.

Gilbert personally recommends classes at the John C. Campbell Folk School, which offers online classes as well as weekend and weeklong classes in crafts, art, music, dance, and more in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina.

Something sweet
Sur La Table

Sur La Table Platinum Pro Half Sheet Pan, 2-Pack

Finally, they can focus on what really matters in life: Cookies. These badass cookie sheets feature thick aluminized steel that promises even heat distribution and an eco-friendly nonstick coating.
$55 at Sur La Table

"It's easy to do too much," said Martha Miller, a retired CDC epidemiologist, who stays busy grandparenting and volunteering (Georgia Appalachian Trail Club, foster care advocacy). "I used to think I'd be able to sit in a rocking chair and read, but there seems to be little time for that." The birth of her first grandchild was "the most awesome retirement gift," but another fave was a surprisingly simple one "from my good friend, Sharon, who knows how much I love chocolate chip cookies. She gave me two really nice cookie sheets, a cooling rack, and a giant bag of Nestle chocolate chips. Every time I use the cookie sheets (often!), I think of Sharon."

To sweat or not to sweat
Amazon

Heybike Ranger Foldable Electric Bike

$1,140$1,500Save $360
Amazon's "Most Wished For" e-bike: This foldable step-through lets them pedal away or zip around at up to 25mph without breaking a sweat. The puncture-proof tires and excellent suspension mean it's ready for bumpy terrain, sand, snow and more.
$1,140 at Amazon

The very active retiree Glazer, who stays busy zipping around New Orleans, was gifted a "snazzy" bike upon her retirement. She said "an electric bike is great" too, especially for people who have "mobility issues and arthritis." While you're at it, she added, "how about a helmet, bike shorts, a certificate for a tune up."

Double the pleasure
Schwinn

Schwinn Twinn Classic Tandem Bike

$890
If this retirement means two-person adventures are ahead, then make this fun double bike their ride.
$890 at Amazon

"But the best gift is sharing time," Glazer added. Well, it's impossible not to share time with this Schwinn Twinn! A five-star reviewer wrote, "My husband and I wanted a tandem to ride with our grandchildren and for great exercise. ... This bike is great for older people who just want to cruise around or daily rides for great couples exercise."

A set fit for a queen
Etsy

Weighted Tournament Chess Set

$190$380Save $190
These beautiful handcarved pieces are made of Sheesham wood. Includes two extra queens!
$190 at Etsy

Another way to share time: A riveting game of chess. This handmade board will wow them. It's too glorious to stow away and too irresistible to not play everyday.

A court order
Wilson

Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3 Tennis Racket

Any recreational player can appreciate the power, control and maneuverability of this top-rated Wilson racket. The lightweight model is great for short swings and offers a large, forgiving sweet spot.
$119 at Wilson

"Do they love tennis? A new racket is great," Glazer said. And Wilson is THE place to nab a racket, with solid choices for all levels and playing styles. The Hyper Hammer is a safe choice for any non-pro, but an even better bet might be a gift card so they can choose their own. Who knows, they might use it to explore pickleball, golf or basketball instead.

The sound of music
Yamaha

Yamaha FG800 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar

With its deep body and steel strings, this top-rated beauty projects a rich, gorgeous tone — it's easy to play, too. And Yahama is the name you want in a guitar.
$230 at Amazon

"Music lessons, a musical instrument," Gilbert suggested. We're on-board with that. An acoustic guitar is a great choice because not only will it sound lovely on it's own (even when they make mistakes) but it pairs well with other instruments and will inspire countless campfire singalongs.

A golden ticket
Getty

Ticketmaster Gift Card

A Tcketmaster gift card can grant them entry to concerts, comedy, Broadway plays and sports events from the NBA to the Harlem Globetrotters. Literally millions of choices.
$100 at Ticketmaster

"Retirement should be fun!" said retired financial systems analyst Diana Joaquin, who suggested tickets to a concert. Ticketmaster will let them search by category, date and distance to find the events they most want to attend.

A DIY happy hour
Uncommon Goods

Whiskey Making Kit

This cool little set lets them mix together wood chips and botanicals with vodka (sold separately) to create homemade whiskey. Includes test tubes, corks, labels and more — even some stainless steel ice cubes for chilling.
$60 at Uncommon Goods

If you and your workmate kicked back with an amber bev every Friday after work, you can keep the tradition going. Toast them from afar with this fun little whiskey-making kit — or maybe even get invited over to continue the tradition. Shoppers have given it a five-star rating. One raved, "The look on his face told me this was a great choice! A unique kit that allows him to experiment! Looking forward to making and testing his creations!"

Cool beans
Bean Box

Bean Box Subscription, Monthly

An entire year of fresh, roasted-to-order coffee! Simply select whole bean or ground; their preferred roast; and whether to have this coffee miracle happen weekly, biweekly or monthly. The subscription can be paused at any time.
$288 at Bean Box

If coffee is more their cup of tea, send this subscription box from Seattle brand Bean Box, started by two coffee lovers. In addition to treating your retired loved one to daily brew, you'll be supporting independent roasters in Seattle and across the country.

An essential read
Amazon

Keys to a Successful Retirement: Staying Happy, Active, and Productive in Your Retired Years by Fritz Gilbert

$10$13Save $3
Help them live happily ever after Retirementland with this slim, practical guide. Within these 152 pages they'll find expert advice on how to thrive financially, emotionally, spiritually, socially and physically.
$10 at Amazon

Author Gilbert told Yahoo Life, "If they're a reader, buy them a book that will help them plan for their retirement — not just the financial side, but (as importantly) the 'softer side' as well." Gilbert, who told us he's "happily retired and enjoying life," also wrote in his award-winning blog that the book is "a labor of love for me and captures everything I learned as I planned for, transitioned into and lived my life."

A healthier self
Amazon

by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, Sexy and Smart ― Until You’re 80 and Beyond

$14$16Save $2
If they plan to rock their golden years in every way, give them this. The motivating book shares the best ways to eat, exercise and think for a long, hot, healthy life.
$14 at Amazon

Fritz, who's read every retirement book worth reading, said in his blog, "This book inspired my dedication to exercise in retirement more than anything else I’ve ever read in my life." Helpful retirement titles like these paired with a couple of the best books of the year would make a fine gift, indeed!

Spot keeper
Uncommon Goods

'Fell Asleep Here' Magnetic Bookmark

Throw this in as a gag, but rest assured that they'll actually use it. This magnetic bookmark stays put and shows the reader exactly where they left off.
$20 at Uncommon Goods

All that reading will tucker anyone out. This is the perfect accompaniment to any book gift. A shopper with the handle "Grammy" gave it five stars and wrote: "I use it daily and I read about a book a week!"

A space for stories
Amazon

CooLeathor Genuine Leather Bound Journal

$23$29Save $6
This luxe leather refillable 5x7 book will last a lifetime. It's nice to find such a beloved, handmade journal (it has a 4.8-star rating on Amazon) at such a great price! Comes with 240 kraft pages to start. Click the on-page coupon for the deepest discount.
$23 at Amazon

Maybe they want to write their own damn book. There are Masterclass classes led by greats like Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oats and N.K. Jemisin (remember that 2-for-1 membership we mentioned above?), but it all really starts with a good ideas journal. A beautiful journal like this will certainly stir up their desire to write. (Also available in a larger 6x8 size on sale for $28).

Fit and fabulous
Amazon

Fitbit Sense 2 Advanced Health and Fitness Smartwatch

$294
This sleek smartwatch tracks fitness, sleep, stress and heart health (including irregular rhythms), all while keeping your recipient connected. Choose from three neutral colors (gray, white and pale blue). Bands in two sizes are included.
$294 at Amazon

Another excellent way to motivate — a fitness smartwatch! The Sense 2 does it all, and it's $100 off right now. It will show them not only will it show them how many steps they took on that mountain hike but also how happy it made their heart.

A deeper connection
Ancestry

AncestryDNA Kit plus World Explorer Membership

Our DNA can tell us so much about our family's journey, when we use a kit like this. It can even connect us with living relatives we didn't know we had.
$60 at Ancestry

If they haven't had time to connect to their roots, help them — for their own knowledge and for future generations. Miller, our retired epidemiologist Miller shared: "This year I've been working on going through diaries kept by my great grandfather...from the early 1860s until the early 1900s. I also have a collection of World War I letters from soldiers stationed in Europe to my grandparents. ... Riveting!" For those who don't have such treasures, there's still family information out there — and it's hiding right there in their DNA.

Nurture nature
West Elm

West Elm Gardening Folding Seat w/ Tools

Function meets style in this West Elm gardening helper. Comes complete with steel broad- and narrow-face trowels, garden fork, cultivator/rake and weeder — all with wooden handles.The lightweight steel and canvas seat folds right up for easy transport and stowing.
$109 at West Elm

Speaking of roots... Finally, a moment to garden! They can pass on those dusty, rusty old tools they haven't used in years and find inspiration with this nice new set of tools.

Art from the heart
Amazon

Retirement Coloring Book

How about 52 punny pages of retirement jokes in coloring book form? At just $8, this is an irresistibly fun gift.
$8 at Amazon

The combo of laughter plus coloring equals joy and ultimate relaxation. The Retirement Coloring Book offers both. A five-star reviewer wrote, "This is super cute. Got it for my boss who was retiring and she laughed at every page. Great fun gift!"

Class it up by adding on some high-quality Prismacolor colored pencils (now over 60% off).

A card with their face on it
Amazon

Amazon eGift Card with Personalized Image or Video

Put their mug right smack on the front of this e-gift card or even upload a video hug from the team. The amount is up to you.
$200 at Amazon

Don't overlook the obvious: "Gift Certificates," Glazer said. "Retirees are on a fixed income, the stock market has not been kind. Gift certificates rule."

This Amazon e-card lets you upload a vid or image, or you can always present a card in a box.

More Holiday Gift Ideas

We’ve got your holiday shopping list covered with fantastic gift ideas for everyone on your list. You’ll find expert picks on the best tech gifts on Engadget, the best gift ideas for car lovers at Autoblog, gifts for the young (and young at heart) at In the Know, and picks for just about everyone else on your list (moms, dads, teens, nurses, you name it!) in Yahoo’s holiday gift ideas section. On AOL, you'll find for gift ideas for seniors shopping for moms, dads, teens and toddlers.