When you think of retirement parties, what comes to mind?
I bet it isn’t “BASEBALL!”
Well, that is exactly what we did, we thought “baseball”.
A co-worker recently retired who had 40 years – yes, 4-0 years – with the company. He is a hard-working man, who still plays recreational baseball in a senior league. It only made sense that his party had a baseball theme. Besides, I like a challenge and when it came to googling “retirement party baseball theme”, not much popped up. (pun intended)
Since we were having the dinner party at Old Greenbrier Restaurant, we wouldn’t be able to go all out on decorations, so we kept it simple with table “centerpieces” made up of a box of Cracker Jacks and a fake bag of peanuts. On each table we had paper and pen for the guests to write a note to the honoree.
Our guest list was quite varied with a handful of current employees and several retirees who had not seen each other in a very long time. Name tags were in order and easy to make using avery.com. I used the 2x4 shipping label and put a simple graphic of a ticket stub on one side and added the event details. I printed them and put them on a clipboard. As people arrived, I wrote their names on the tag.
For our main table, we had a bucket of baseballs for all of his “teammates” to sign. (If you choose to use this idea, use ballpoint pens instead of the fine tip Sharpies. They worked okay, but didn’t dry as quickly as I would have liked.) I used a photo holder and added a couple of quick signs for "Autographs please!"
This was sitting next to a “baseball card” poster that one of our co-workers made with a photo of him batting with a standing ovation crowd in the background. He even added statistics on the back.
On the dessert table, we had two buckets, one for collecting money for the honoree and one for collecting notes and cards. I re-worded "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for the sign on this one.
For dessert, we opted for cupcakes from Peggy Ann Bakery, and I made cupcake toppers using Powerpoint and my Silhouette Cameo. I found some photo clipart that I liked of baseball stuff and using the Picture Tools in Powerpoint, I cropped them to circles and then added the text. Using the Print and Cut feature of the Cameo I was able to knock out 60 in no time flat.
We didn’t have anything planned as far as speakers or anything like that, but there is the tradition of giving advice, well wishes, and storytelling at retirement parties. Off the cuff, we played “pass the bat” and whoever had the bat could speak.
We even had one person, who couldn’t make it, email me a couple of stories to read to the group. It was a hit! (pun intended)
After all of the speeches, we got everyone outside for a group photo and few last goodbyes.
Simple yet fun. With never-ending hushpuppies. The way retirement ought to be.