Tablescape: Retirement Tablesetting

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Retirement should be an exciting experience for the retiree–the upcoming opportunity to leave the work-a-day world behind to find time to relax and rethink how to spend the next phase of life. It’s a wonderful chance to celebrate the memories of one career and to imagine the future of another, be it a new paid job or a volunteer position.

Even if your retiree is feted at work by coworkers, you can still honor your loved one with a dinner party. This should be a time to talk about what has been and what could be. Not everyone who is leaving a job he or she has loved for many years is happy about it. So you do need to be observant of your guest of honor’s feelings and to focus on the positive aspects of the new opportunities coming.

This retirement tablesetting is cheerful and bright to emphasize the positive, to show the festive nature of the dinner party. I began with a red cloth tablecloth as a base to the tablescape and added turquoise round straw placemats for a strong color contrast. Then I chose multi-color plaid melamine dinner plates from the Christmas Tree Shop to eat on and clear glass goblets from which to drink. Turquoise fringed cotton napkins add more strong color to the look of the table, as did the red enamel and brass napkin rings.

For a centerpiece, I used four small wooden Adirondack chairs that I found at the craft store for one dollar each. Adirondack chairs always remind me of relaxing, so these reminded me of one of the perks of retiring. I painted two of the chairs red and two of them turquoise to pick up on colors of the tablecloth, placemats, napkins and the colors in the plaid dishes.

Then I found a piece of “Happy Retirement” clip art on the Internet to put on two long thin tent cards, which I printed on white cardstock on my home computer printer. The clip art has the same colors as those in the tablescape and is printed on both sides of the tent cards so that guests on both side of the table can see it. Then I added some paper miniature pinwheels and serpentine streamers for a festive look.

Fix your retiree’s favorite meal, and toast the past and future. Talk about the skills your honoree has in spades and discuss new ways to use them in retirement or totally new adventures your honoree has on his/her bucket list. Make this dinner party a special time to look backward and forward at your honoree’s new life! Enjoy!





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