Each participant is assigned one other participant and is required to write exactly one fic for their recipent. They will receive a list containing all three or four of the recipient's requests, but only has to choose one to write. At least one request will be something the participant offered (if not, a mistake has been made and the mods should be contacted). The participant, however, can pick any request from the recipient's list to write.
Writers are supposed to preserve their anonymity throughout the exchange. They are not supposed to do anything that will allow their recipient to guess their identity. If needed, the mods can act as a go-between for the writer to ask their recipient any questions.
It is frowned upon for Yuletide participants to criticize or speak negatively about their assignments. Doing so could lead to hurt feelings, which is something that the mods try hard to avoid.
The assigned fic must be at least 1,000 words.
The only real requirement is that a participent include the fandom and characters that the recipent requested. Any optional details listed by the recipient (whether in the request prompts or in a Yuletide Letter) are optional, though it is considered good form to try to include them. The written fics are considered gifts and, as such, many participants would rather default and let the request go to pinch hitters than write something they felt their recipient wouldn't be happy with.
Assigned fics are generally supposed to be betaed. Each year there is a post to the yuletide livejournal asking for beta volunteers, and volunteer information from that post is placed in a spreadsheet for easy viewing and searching. Participants can also use the chatroom to find a beta.
Defaulting on a Yuletide assignment can lead to ramifications for future Yuletide participation depending on the circumstances.
- Default before 11:59 (ET) Dec. 10 with notification: Participant is eligible for future Yuletides without penalty, no questions asked. A record of the default is kept for the future.
- Default after Dec. 10 with notification: Mods will decide if the participant will be banned from future Yuletides or if the participant must write a New Year's Resolutions story as a penalty to participate in future Yuletides. Factors the mods consider are past default history and extenuating circumstances.
- Default without notification: Automatic ban from Yuletide.
- Default two years in a row: Automatic ban from Yuletide.
Participants can post their fics to the archive at any time before assignments are due. Fics will be hidden until they are revealed on December 25th. They will remain anonymous until January 1.