Originally Published June 2021, Updated November 2023
Retirement is both an exciting time, and a nerve wracking time, it’s full of so many changes!
Here is your chance to say thank you, and help the transition with a thoughtful and meaningful gift.
When it comes to what you should get a Retired Firefighter, you have a few options. First and foremost, pick items that can be personalized, like challenge coins, shirts, and helmet shields. Consider items that would be useful, not just decorative, like a signature book for the coffee table. And lastly, pick items that can be given by the community, like plaques, benches, and thank you cards!
Want something alittle less serious… check out these funny gifts for retirement, or these hilariously awesome (yet kinda weird) curation of unique firefighter gifts.
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Good Retirement Gifts for Firefighters
1. A Nice Watch (preferably customized)
I mean… it’s for all this free time your Firefighter will have! Corny, I know, but also a great way to celebrate a life well-lived, and let them know that the clock is ticking. Enjoy Retirement!
2. Custom Ax- possibly mounted
This Commemorative keepsake is a classic choice for retiring firemen. It’s got all the bells and whistles. It’s sharp, mildly dangerous, and cool looking, just like the many years they’ve spent on the job.
You can go for a more subtle unattached ax like this one from a custom maker, or you can go with a wall setup, that allows you to have more items and customization, like this very popular hanging wall Ax.
or… here me out. They might also like a functional ax, or a functional pocket knife. Consider what they might actually use and appreciate- plus see if you can have it customized for the occasion!
This is a true classic, after all, it’s a great way to show off items without them collecting dust in a drawer. There are the obvious patches and helmet shields, plus you can get a commemorative plaque or something that highlights there station. Don’t forget the power of pictures here too!
And a real fancy one (also from etsy)
4. Retirement Shirt
Don’t hate me for suggesting a shirt- after all- there are so many in their closet already! But a shirt is a good way to find closure, will still acknowledging all the work they’ve put in.
Bonus- think about getting it customized with the year or add their last name!
5. Custom Helmet Shield
These are ALL the rage right now over in the wedding section, and for good reason, they are awesome! We’re even thinking about doing one for our next baby. So getting a custom helmet shield for retirement just seems natural.
6. Firefighter Bible
They’ve obviously seen a lot, and with more free time on their hands, they will need some things to help them process the big change + the trauma they’ve experienced over the years. Our friends over at BLEO have a nonprofit with a Firefighter specific box designed to provide encouragement and resources.
7. A Custom Blanket
You really can’t go wrong with a blanket, and this would be my top pick for a “safe” gift when you aren’t sure what to get.
There’s a budget option that look amazing over on Etsy, but if you’d like to go all in, go with a Firefighter Quilt. At best, you can use up all of those firefighter shirts that you’ve been drowning in for years!
8. Budget Friendly like a Travel Journal or Tote Bag
Hopefully whatever Firefighter you are getting this gift for is in good spirits, and good shape, and has a lot of time left. So invest in items like a travel journal or a quality tote bag! The Bonus is that these items are also budget friendly.
Travel Journals can also be picked up on Amazon, so they also make the perfect last minute Firefighter Retirement Gift! For tote bags, you can get something generic, but you can also get one that looks like bunker gear.
Retirement Gift for the Fire Chief
Getting a gift for the Chief is different- wether your a Firefighter or a Fire Family- you’ll want to say thank you to the Chief who kept the station safe from harm!
1.Custom Challenge Coin
Custom Items will always be the rage, and a custom challenge coin to commemorate a long and successful career is just what the Doc ordered!
You can order one, but it would be ideal to design and order 25-50. That way Chief can give them out or leave them as a heirloom (especially if there are a few kids/grandkids in the mix!)
2.Firefighter Image Book with Signatures of Department
After retirement, it’s fun to look back on what you’ve accomplished and done! And what better way than to share memories of all your crew, especially as the years go by and the memory isn’t quite what it used to be!
Do it in style with an item that will be kept and shared for a long time. Grab a Firefighter Image Book Online (American Firefighter is my book recommendation), or have one custom made (Shutterfly would be the easiest, I promise) and they have the crew sign different pages of the book.
3. A Thank You card- especially from the kids
As a former teacher, one of my most cherished items is the Thank You cards I received. I’m sure you can relate to your profession, and Firefighters are no different. Let your Chief know that their time and sacrifices were noticed and send them a card (PSSST- see about contacting your local schools and daycares to see if they would be willing to send over cards too!)
Fireman Retirement Gifts
There you have it my fire family! Some ideas for Retirement Gifts for Firefighters. Do you have any suggestions? Let us know in the comments below, or tag us on social media at Fire. Dept. Family !