Great question, @Briannakin. I personally don't think there is a deadline for when to have a holiday fic posted by unless it's being written for a specific challenge that has a hard deadline attached to it. Even then, the story might be able to get entered on a non-competitive basis into an index or could at least state in the author's note what challenge inspired it. Other than that, I always feel like it's up to the author when they want to have a particular fic posted by, and I'd hate to put any extra pressure on another fanfic author to have a certain holiday-themed story posted by a specific date. I tend to think of it as whenever they are done with the story and want to share it with a broader audience, that is the perfect time to share the story and not a moment before. It'll be ready when it's ready, and I can appreciate it when it's ready and not have to rush it. I agree that as a reader it can definitely be a special experience to read a "holiday special" type fic on or around the holiday. It can add to the feeling of festive excitement in the air, and feel like a present too! That being said, I don't mind the joy being spread into late January and beyond. I've even enjoyed both as a reader and a writer special "Christmas in July" type fanfic challenges so I'd say if you want to write a Christmas, Hanukah, or New Year's fic set in July, go for it, because it could still bring some holiday cheer to my life even after the holidays are done. As a writer, I tend to be a "follow the inspiration" type of author. So, often for me, holiday fics are inspired by the festive atmosphere leading up to the holiday, the change in season, the excitement of the new year, the first snowfall, fun winter activities, or even my own holiday experiences in the past or present. Those triggers often mean that I post my holiday fics in December or early January unless a challenge sparks my inspiration at some other time of the year. That being said, most of my fics are short little one shots. For a multiple chapter piece or a longer one shot, I could see how I might start writing it in December or January and not finish until a long time after because longer fics can be harder for me to finish. I think before Christmas or in the gap between Christmas and New Year's for holiday fics might draw the most readers and in terms of attracting readership numbers might be the "best" time to post. However, that may not be the "best" time to post for any individual author in terms of real life timing, creative inspiration, or structural issues with the fic. Ultimately, I think the "best" time to post any fic is when the author feels ready. Hope this is in some way helpful and not just empty words, haha.