|See also:||challenge, Pinch-hitting, Secret Santa, ficathon|
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A gift exchange is a type of challenge in which participants create fanworks to give to one another. Because gift exchanges are predicated on the idea of everyone receiving a gift, this type of challenge tends to end up with works that hew closely to the receiver's desires, with some gift-givers doing considerable secret research to discover what would cause the most squee as well as abiding by their DNWs. Recent exchanges have also made the use of dear creator letters.
Gift exchanges are designed so that every participant receives a work from another participant. In cases where a gift may be missing or late, the challenge moderator will call upon a pinch-hitter to provide a story on short notice. Many pinch-hitters take pride in their ability to work quickly on demand, and do not participate in the challenge at all except to give without expectation of receiving anything. Potential participants are advised not to sign up for exchanges without a pinch hitting system because it may signal that the moderator is disorganized or does not care if all participants receive a gift.
In many cases, as with Yuletide, the gifts are given anonymously, with the authors revealed only several days (or even weeks) after the fanwork has been posted. In such cases only the moderator will know who created the work; the etiquette on publically guessing the author or artist may vary from one challenge to another.