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The good news about Valentine’s Day is that it serves as a stop sign to do something special for your wife. The bad news is that: The pace of life + the uncertainty of not knowing what to do can = wonk, wonk, wonk.

General Gifts No Longer Cut It

Not that long ago, men didn’t have to think about what to do for Valentine’s Day. We knew what we were supposed to do. We bought a card, candy, and flowers. Those gifts were as certain as putting up a tree at Christmas—it’s just what you do for that holiday.

For many of us, being a Valentine’s generalist is no longer enough. Why? I believe it stems from our wives’ interest in Pinterest—the portal of confusion and anxiety for a man. Pinterest is all about unique, custom, and often DIY.

Flying into a grocery store at 5:15pm on February 14 no longer cuts it. So to help my fellow husbands out, here are a couple of ideas that I’ve tried over the years that you can customize to make your own.

(Bonus: My wife doesn’t like me spending money, so these ideas come with the added bonus of being inexpensive.)

1. Fiverr.com

For five bucks, you can get people to create all kinds of fun stuff. I had a guy create a video of himself swing in on a vine and read a love note I wrote to my wife, Nancie. She LOVED it.

One year, I sent someone a picture of our dog and they animated him saying, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Nancie!” She LOVED it.

2. Poster

A few years ago I went to local print shop and had our wedding announcement from the newspaper blown up to poster size for $7. I framed it with a cheap frame from Walmart. Nancie LOVED it.

You can do similar things pretty inexpensively online or in store through Walmart Photo services.

3. Wall Art

OK, so this one took me some time. But here goes:

  1. Take a piece of 1.5’ x 1.5’ plywood and paint it. (Most home improvement stories have a pieces already cut or will cut it for you.)
  2. Cut two holes at the top.
  3. Paint it the color of your choice.
  4. Stencil or free-hand the message of your choice.
  5. Once the paint is dry, thread your rope through the holes, tie the ends in knots.

I did this for Nancie a few years ago. She REALLY LOVED it.

For some of you, this is all your wife will want. For others of you, you may need to do something additional like dinner, or a cruise for two to Tahiti. But make no mistake about it—something unique that took you just a little time will mean a lot.

What are you getting your wife for Valentine’s Day?