The Best Retirement Gifts For Dads: 7 Tips That Will Make Him Shed A Tear

Best Retirement Gifts For Dads:

7 Tips That Will Make Him Shed A Tear

feature image best retirement gifts for dads

So your dad is finally retiring after all those years of hard work, and you really want to get him something special as he has been the best dad a son or daughter could have asked for?

Great idea!

His retirement is a very special and a very emotional moment for him. Any gesture coming from his own child will matter the world to him!

But, after all those birthdays, father’s days, Christmases and other occasions where you gave your father a present, you have no clue where to possibly find the best retirement gifts for your dad that will top them all?

The best retirement gifts for dads are either linked to his future hobbies or related to future travels. More traditional but still well-appreciated retirement gifts are an engraved watch, a high-quality personalized mug or special bottle to hold his favorite drink. But don’t forget that starting a new retired life can be difficult. Therefore, besides a physical item, the best gift you can give your dad is to help him transfer into his new routine & continue to make his life meaningful. Also, spend more time with him as your presence will be valued a lot.

Not looking for tips? Instead, you want concrete gift ideas? Then you’ll want to jump right to our listicle of top retirement gifts for dad in 2021.

Disclosure: some links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we might earn a commission if you click & make a purchase.
By: Kristof, Updated 04/14/2021

For those of you who really want to get this one right, and not only find the best retirement gift for your father, but also give him a memorable experience around this milestone, we offer the following 7 tips:

How do I find the perfect retirement gift for my dad?

#TIP 1

Enable Your Dad To Travel & Savor Each Moment Of It

Most people keep on telling themselves: “one day I will travel”. Well, once you are retired there are no more excuses like “it’s too busy at work right now” to not do it.

Moreover, these days retired men are even not afraid of being more adventurous when they travel.

So if your dad indeed falls under this category, you can give him that little nudge and enable him to finally see the world.

There are a couple of retirement gift ideas for your dad that do exactly this:

1. Just buy him Airline Tickets

If he has been talking about wanting to visit a certain place for years, why not just give him the tickets and send him on his way?

He won’t have the opportunity to find any excuses, which he otherwise might still try to do even though he’s retired.

PRO TIP : Collude with your mom to find the right dates and get all the information you might need for the booking (f.e. passport number).

If you don’t want to spend too much time browsing airlines websites to find the best offers, use a site like Dollar Flight Club.

These kind of sites give you the best deals across all airlines, and when opening the calendar you can instantly see how the prices would vary if you shift the departure and return dates a couple of days. This takes away the need to run several queries.

Just make sure you double-check any visa requirements before booking the tickets.

A passport with an airline ticket indicating retired dads should travel more

2. Gift Air Miles so He Can Choose Himself

Alternatively, if you are convinced a trip is the right retirement gift for your dad, but you are unsure where exactly he wants to go, you might want to check out sites like Skyhour.

This website allows you to gift air miles, which your dad can then redeem to book his flight (among 350+ airlines).

It’s perhaps a little less personal, but a safer and more flexible way to gift airline tickets.

3. Book a Family Trip

By the time your dad retires, you and your siblings will be fully grown up and leading your own lives.

Although your parents are, without a doubt, very proud of you and wish you the best, they probably do miss having you around.

That is why organizing a little family trip as a retirement gift for your dad could be a great idea.

He will absolutely love the fact that the family is together again during this special moment in his life.

Of course, you don’t have to fly the entire family to Fiji.

Actually going back to that same cabin or lake house you all have fond childhood memories about might even mean more to him.

Still looking for an original or fun activity to do during the trip? Use Viator to browse and book attractions and activities near your destination.

A family on holiday enjoying the sunset

4. Get him a Travel-Related Gift

Perhaps your parents already have a big trip booked? That doesn’t mean you cannot give a travel-related retirement gift to your dad.

After doing the research, it seems that a very popular and well-appreciated retirement gift for dads is a new photo camera.

Typically a hobby that requires more engagement is often put on the bucket list for “when I have more time”.

Add to this the fact that your dad will love to be able to capture his great adventures around the world, and you will see why a camera is such a fitting retirement gift.

Because the world of photography is quite complex, and the camera options are pretty much endless, I want to mention the one option that seems to be a big hit with starting enthusiasts such as just retired men.

It is the Nikon 5300.

When it comes to photo cameras, Nikon is considered one of the best brands out there.

Within their vast assortment, the Nikon 5300 is praised as the perfect device for any beginning photographer. Don’t believe me? Just read the overwhelmingly positive reviews!

If a photo camera is not for your dad, you can find more inspiration in this post about best travel gifts for men.

Nikon 5300: the ideal photography present for a retired men

Nikon 5300: for beginning photographers

Another great travel-related gift idea for retired dads is a gadget that will help him keep his things safe while he’s traveling.

I interviewed dozens of dads and one of the reasons they would refrain from finally taking that big trip is the fear of getting robbed.

Enter the opportunity for a great gift!

The Flexsafe is a locked bag that can be safely secured to its surroundings (like an umbrella, beach chair, etc). So get your dad one of these and he’ll be able to enjoy his trip with total peace of mind.

Nikon 5300: the ideal photography present for a retired men

Flexsafe Secure Travel Bag

#TIP 2

Push Him Towards Future Hobbies With Related Gifts

We already talked about photography in the previous point, but actually, the same thinking can be applied to any other future hobby you think your dad might enjoy.

By giving your dad a certain retirement gift you can actually push him towards a new hobby!

Why would you want to do this?

Well, retirement is a huge moment in the life of any man. His entire life your dad committed to his work in order to provide for his family. It was a big responsibility and an important goal for him.

When retirement arrives, many men can’t help but feeling a bit lost and without a purpose, and the void ahead can look very daunting.

That is why you can help him by guiding him towards new passions or hobbies that he can look forward and commit to.

So far this makes sense, right?

But now you’re thinking: “which hobby is the right one for my dad?”

Well, this will indeed depend on many personal factors and areas of interest.

But if it can help, I researched the most popular hobbies men seem to take up after they retire, and came to the following list of popular activities:

  • Photography
  • Gardening & DIY
  • Playing Golf
  • Painting
  • Reading 
  • Bird Watching

1. Photography

We already talked about it in the previous point, but even when your parents are not planning to take any trip you can still please your dad with a camera or other related gift that might lead him towards photography as a hobby.

During my interviews with retired men, there was this story that came back a lot. After taking up photography, many retired dads seem to promote themselves to the professional photographer of every family event. This new role seemed to give them a sense of purpose.

Old man holding a photo camara on a road

2. Gardening & DIY

It’s a stereotype, but dads do love to spend time outside or tinkering around the house.

Give your dad a retirement gift that helps him take care of the garden or home and he will again have found a responsibility, which he will love.

Now, by the time your dad retires, he might already have a full shed of tools. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing left to give him.

Now that he has all the time in the world, he can go beyond basic garden maintenance and strive to make something more out his back yard.

A great example is this tool organizer by Bucket boss. It fits any standard 5-gallon bucket and with it your dad will never lose any of his tools again.

On top, he only needs to pick up and carry one item vs many, which is better for his back.

Alternatively, you can also check out this post on great gifts for the DIY man if you want to see more useful DIY tools & gadgets.

The bucket boss organizer: the perfect gardening gift for a retired personThe Bucket Boss Tool Organizer

3. Playing Golf

Unless your father is seriously into golf, I would not recommend getting him a golf gift, as it’s rather cliché.

If he loves playing golf or if he is about to start, you could give one the following golf related retirement gifts:

  • Personalized golf balls: you can choose the color & the message on the #1 ball in golf. (pro V1)
  • A nice stainless steel flask with his initials engraved. It can become his ‘birdie flask’. Give him a set and personalize it with the names of all his golf buddies.
  • A Private lesson with a swing coach on his favorite golf course.
  • A nice putter from his favorite brand.

Personalized golf dad for a retired dad with a joke

4. Painting

Though admittedly not for everyone, if your dad has always shown a nag for drawing, pushing him towards taking up painting could lead to a new passion.

You can gift him his first painting lessons, or send him straight on his way with this very popular deluxe starter kit. It includes an easel, portable legs so he could paint on location, brushes, different kinds of paint and high-quality canvas panels.

Deluxe painter starter kit for if your retired dad would like to paint

Deluxe Painting Starter Kit

5. Reading

Another thing we tend to push out in front of us for when we will have the time is read all those great books from the likes of Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky.

A very thoughtful gift for your dad in this area is an e-reader. You can even preinstall an entire reading list on the device to make it complete.

Let’s be honest, the chances that your dad would have purchased (and tried to figure out) an e-reader by himself are close to zero.

So this way you’re not only giving him an entire library at literally the touch of a finger, but you also push him to try new technologies.

Which e-reader is best for a retired dad?

There are many e-readers out there, but I strongly advise to go for an Amazon Kindle device.

Besides the fact that these devices are pretty much the best you can get, the reality is that there is also no easier place to buy digital books than on Amazon.

You can either go for the basic Kindle, which offers the basic functionalities and no frills, or you can go for the more premium Oasis edition which has a very large 7” screen & high resolution while being waterproof.

Although the later is a bit more expensive, the larger screen and waterproof properties will be highly appreciated as your dad gets older.

Kindle E-reader Oasis edition

Kindle E-reader: Oasis Edition

6. Bird Watching

Before you start laughing, you should know that this truly is a very popular hobby among many retired men.

So in case you noticed your dad likes birds, and already knows several species by name, this could be an interesting route to pursue.

The number one gift you can give an ornithology enthusiast is, of course, a pair of binoculars. And the clear favorite among starting “birders” is the Wingspan Optics Spectator.

With a powerful 8×32 magnification, fog proof coating, no-slip grip and wide field of view, it’s called out as the perfect partner for birdwatching or any other outdoor activity.

Add to this that it is not expensive at all and you get why this a winner retirement gift for dads.

Wingspan Optics SpectatorWingspan Optics Spectator

#TIP 3

Give Him a Sentimental Gift that Moves Him

As I mentioned before, retiring is a very emotional moment for your dad. That is why, no matter how tough he might be on the outside, it is the perfect moment to give him a gift with more sentimental value.

A great sentimental retirement gift for dads is a scrapbook. He just finished a 30+ year career, so celebrate it by making an overview of his greatest memories and achievements.

Ask mom to help dig up those scruffy pictures from the ‘70s and combine them in a unique scrapbook. He will absolutely love and cherish it.

Within the same spirit, you can also gift him an object that reminds him of a great achievement or milestone.

An example I came across was a man whose career took a turn for the better when he was stationed in the Seattle office during the ‘80s. So his daughter gave him a Seattle street sign with the name of the street that office was located. That sign got an honorary place in the man’s study.

Personally, I have a flair for the dramatic, so I would probably go for a premium vintage scrapbook like this one.

The genuine leather binding gives the book a premium touch, making it worthy of all those precious memories.

premium vintage scrapbook

Premium Vintage Scrapbook

#TIP 4

You Can Not Go Wrong With A Classic Retirement Gift

We cannot write a post about the best retirement gifts for your dad without mentioning the classics.

Although these gifts might not be so original, it doesn’t mean they are less appreciated. After all, they are called classics for a reason!

There are many traditional retirement gifts for men, but the two classics we want to call out here are watches & whiskey.

1. Expensive Watches

For most people, the top-of-mind retirement gift for dads is probably a fancy watch. The thinking with this gift is that after all his years of service a man deserves to own a proper watch to enjoy his free time to the fullest.

Although this is very true, and most dads will appreciate receiving a fine watch, you can make this retirement gift even more special by adding a meaningful message.

Engraving the watch with something in the likes of “a great manager, but the best of dads” can be the thing that makes your dad shed a tear.

Which expensive watch should you buy a man as a retirement gift?

It will depend mostly on your budget, but start from these tips:

  • Go for a rather traditional design. Although you yourself might be into smartwatches or more futuristic designs where you can see the entire interior mechanism, your dad is probably more old-school.
  • If you want to add an engraving, choose a slightly bigger model so you have enough space on the back.
  • Don’t go for a “bling bling” gold watch if you want him to wear it every day.

A classy yet still affordable example is a Swiss Tissot. But if money is not an issue, Longines is considered a golden standard when it comes to luxury timepieces.

A Swiss Tissot Watch: A great classic retirement gift for your dad

A Swiss Tissot Watch

A silver longines watch: a traditional retirement gift for men

A Swiss Longines Luxury Watch

2. A Pocket Watch

You can also go entirely old-school and give your dad a stylish pocket watch. Although it perhaps is less practical on an everyday basis, its unique character and distinguished history make it a much-loved retirement gift for fathers.

Tips for finding the best pocket watch for your father:

Although you will find many cheap pocket watches when browsing the internet, I would strongly advise against buying any of them.

The entire point is to give your dad a gift that he can cherish, so you don’t want it breaking any time soon. If you want to give him a proper pocket watch that lasts, go for a renowned brand.

First up is Tissot. It is a luxury Swiss watch brand that is known for its high-quality pocket watches.

My personal favorite is definitely the Lepine Pocket Watch. It has that distinguished 19th-century look and feel, and you instantly notice the craftsmanship and quality.

Lepine Pocket Watch from TissotLepine Pocket Watch from Tissot

A slightly different, yet also truly exceptional pocket watch is the Silver Slimline by Frederique Constant.

You can open the back, which not only allows a stunning view of the internal mechanics but also provides even more space for a personalized engraving.

Slimline Silver Pocket Watch

Slimline Pocket Watch by Frederic Constant

3. Whiskey (or his favorite drink)

Another “classic retirement gift” is a fine bottle of whiskey. Finding the perfect bottle for a whiskey-loving man can be very difficult as you have to know more or less which ones he enjoys.

Moreover, you also have to check your budget, as buying a unique bottle for this special occasion can be expensive.

Almost every whiskey fan will claim you can’t go wrong with a nice Macallan. This brand is known to be one of the best Whiskeys in the world and is well received by just about any connaisseur.

These are the best Macallan bottles you can gift, based on your budget:

Obviously, if your father is not a big Whiskey fan, give him a special bottle of his favorite drink instead.

A Macallan 12 Year Old : A traditional retirement gift for men

A Macallan 12 Year Old

A Macallan 18 year Old: a traditional retirement gift for men

A Macallan 18 Year old

Are you looking for a unique extra touch to an alcoholic gift?

If your budget is between $30 and $100, you can create your own fancy personalized whiskey, vodka, rum or champagne bottle!

Just pick your poison, choose a font, and your message will be added to the bottle with this nifty bottle-engraving service.

Engrave a special bottle for if a men retires

4. Personalized Glasses or Mugs

Perhaps the Macallan itself is a bit too much for your wallet? Or maybe your dad prefers another drink? In either case, a great alternative gift idea for his retirement is a set of engraved glasses.

Engraved Whiskey glassesPersonalized Whiskey Glass

#TIP 5

Make Him Laugh With A Funny Retirement Gift

A retirement party would not be complete without also a healthy dose of humor and laughter. That is why a couple of funny gifts are also very welcome.

You can find many funny retirement gifts with a quick Google search, but here are 3 of my all-time favorites:


A mug for retired people: A funny retirement gift for dads

The funny mug

Business Cards for Retired People is a funny retirement gift

Retirement Business cards

Bucket List for Retired People: A funny gift for a retired father

A bucket list bucket

Just make sure your dad doesn’t walk away with only gag gifts after the event. Check with your mom and siblings upfront and coordinate who gives what.

#TIP 6

Help Him Stay Healthy & Fit For Years To Come

Although it’s perhaps not the most obvious angle for a retirement gift, you should also consider that in just a few years’ time your dad will be hitting 70.

Whether he likes it or not, a good health will very fast become his key priority and worry.

So giving him something that will help him keep his body in good health is actually a great idea.

Here are 3 concrete gift ideas:

1. A gym membership

It is never too late to start going to the gym. Not only will it help your dad avoid high cholesterol and clogged veins, but it will also improve his general fitness level, enabling him to enjoy his retirement to the fullest!

PROTIP : Considering his age, some caution is advised. You don’t want him to hurt his back or joints trying to lift too heavy weights. That is why it’s a good idea to ask a personal trainer or another certified person in the gym to create a tailored program for your dad’s fitness level and body.

If you’re looking for a great gym for your dad, I would recommend 24hour fitness. It’s a renowned nationwide chain (largest in the world), and it offers the big advantage that it’s open 24/7.

Remember that retired people tend to be up very early in the morning, so this way your dad can have an early morning if he wants.

Alternatively, you could always go to the local gym and see if they could provide you with a great membership plan & some tailored programs for seniors.

Arrow on the floor pointing to the gym

2. Sports Equipment

If your dad doesn’t like the gym or if he prefers outdoor sports then perhaps you can give him some sports equipment instead.

Go for new running or tennis shoes, swimming goggles or even a yoga mat.

3. Home training device

If budget is not a constraint, you can even go for a full-fledged home training device as a retirement gift.

Research suggests that seniors are best off with a rowing machine or a dual action exercise bike. Both are great for increasing endurance, while not putting too much strain on the body. 

When choosing a rowing machine, make sure you not only go for quality (so your dad gets a proper exercise without risk of hurting himself) but also think about mom and the fact that this device needs a place in her home.

The Concept 2 is currently the most popular rowing machine. But if you’re willing to spend a bit more, the look and feel of the handcrafted Water Rower is just way more premium.

A Concept 2 Rowing Machine : A good gift to keep a retired men healthy

Concept 2 Rowing Machine

A premium Water Rower: a good gift to keep a retired man healthy

A Premium Water Rower

Dual action exercise bikes offer a better workout vs a traditional exercise bike as you will simultaneously have to peddle and move your upper body. If you’re looking for quality, the Assault Fitness is probably the best option currently available.

Airbike Classic Dual Action Exercise Bike

#TIP 7

Be There for Him & Take Up the Role as Change Agent

After years of dedicating his life to his profession and career, it will be difficult for your dad to start a new life as a retired man.

Don’t underestimate this part as research shows that most retired men fear not knowing what to do, and as a consequence not feeling useful anymore. It is even called out as a possible route to depression.

So to avoid all of this, you will want to help your dad transfer all his newly-won free time into something useful.

You can do this using one of the tips above such as steering him towards a new hobby or getting him to devote more time to physical exercise.

However, perhaps even the very best retirement gift you can ever give your dad is to just spend more time with him. Even if you live in another state and can’t drop by once every 2 to 3 weeks, just give him a call to hear how he is doing.

Especially in the first weeks after his retirement, you will want to be there for him.

You mean the world to him, so you being at his side during this big change in his life is probably the most helpful and valued gift you can ever give him.

Your father is, and always will be, one of the most important people in your life. Have a look at this 1-minute video to understand why tip #7 is so important!

So there you have it! I hope you found these 7 tips useful, and you are now fully set to find the best possible retirement gift for your dad.  

And who knows, it might even make your old man shed a tear. 

However, if you’re still not completely convinced what exactly to get him, you might find even more inspiration in this top 30 retirement gifts for men.

Looking for More Retirement Gift ideas For Dad?

If you have comments or questions, feel free to post them below. If you just want to see a list of the most popular gifts of 2020, have a look at our top retirement gifts for men. Or perhaps you want to surprise him with a unique personalized item he can cherish forever?


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