I have an aversion to retirement parties, in fact, I've had this feeling for years. It always bothered me coughing up $60 for some food I don't want to eat to celebrate the career of someone who will forget my existence as soon as she has one foot out the door. Don't say this won't happen, because I know it does. I felt guilty after I said no to one a few years ago and, at the last moment forked over the check. Well, I was right. That person, while keeping in touch with some people has had nothing to do with me.
Several years ago, a good friend refused to have a typical retirement party. Instead, she invited friends to a party in her home, a party she paid for. This seemed like a great idea at the time. The hitch--every guest was asked (by another friend) to chalk up $50 to help pay for a watch she wanted. So much for paying for your own party.
I have lots of reasons for not following the typical route, but the scenario above is my number one reason. Anyone who cares about me can go out and have a drink (even a glass of juice if they don't imbibe) in my honor.