This job seems to be setup like most of the others, with a total of three stars available to earn, depending on how quickly you can complete the order, with the 3--star prize being a large decoration that you'd likely see up at Santa's Workshop. Meet us behind the break for everything you need to know about this new catering mission.
Once you start the Holiday Dinner catering job, you'll see that you have three full days to complete the job in order to do so with a three star rating. This job asks you to cook three holiday-themed dishes, which actually makes this catering job one of the hardest ever released, as these holiday recipes start out as locked out for users, until they can complete enough of the Holiday Dinner goals (remember, goals are an entirely different feature than Catering) in order to unlock access to cooking them. For example, the Baked Ham recipe that we'll talk about a little later can only be cooked after finishing part 5 of the Holiday Dinner Goals.
Whether or not you've unlocked these recipes does not affect your ability to accept the Catering order, so if you think you have enough friends on your account that have already unlocked those recipes and will be cooking them for their own stake with this job, go right ahead. Still, it seems unreasonable that Zynga would give such a short time limit of three days when this is the case. Luckily, this order as a convenient "Cancel Order" button located on its menu, so if you'd rather not even attempt the job until you have personally unlocked all three dishes, go right ahead - we won't blame you, as we're doing the same.
Moving onto the task at hand, however, once you are ready to tackle this mission, you'll need to serve Waldorf Salad 127 times, Baked Ham 138 times, and Angel Slices 63 times. You can unlock these tasks for Cafe Cash, at a price of 20, 18, and 16 Cafe Cash, respectively. In addition, you'll need to collect 15 Candy Canes and 10 Gingerbread Men to finish off this job's tasks.
For finishing the job in order three days, you'll earn 6 Catering Points, 6,300 Cafe Points, 141,750 Coins, and the Toy Workshop Bench decoration - a large animated item that has an elf diligently working away at a table in Santa's Workshop.
For the 2-star prize, you are given a total of five days to complete the order. This results in a prize of 4 Catering Points, 4,500 Cafe Points and 101,250 coins.
Finally, the 1-star prize will be received for simply finishing the mission, even if you go past the five day time limit. For going through with completing the order, you'll receive 2 Catering Points, 2,700 Cafe Points, and 60,750 coins - not a bad haul, considering.
For this job, you can have up to 11 people, including yourself, working on the job at once. You can either click on the "Ask for Help!" button to send individual requests to friends to ask them for help, or you can go into the Catering Business menu to see if any of your friends have already undertaken this job themselves, and if they have, you can instantly join their catering crew, if there are any positions left.
Since this job is such a difficult one (unless you and 10 of your friends just happen to have already unlocked the three Holiday dishes), this might be the time when you should take advantage of the ability to add more than the standard 11 total crew members to your order. This is done by clicking on the "Unlock Slot" button, at which point you are asked to gather the proper gear to allow another chef into the kitchen. You'll need to gather 1 Hat, 1 Jacket, 1 Pants, and 2 Pairs of Shoes in order to unlock a new crew slot, which can be done by asking your friends to send you the items via individual requests. You can skip this step entirely by simply paying 5 Cafe Cash to unlock the new slot instantly, if you so choose.
Remember, no matter what happens with your catering order (that is, no matter which star rating you end up getting), you'll be able to retry it if you so choose to get a higher score, and perhaps even unlock the Toy Workshop Bench decoration, if you didn't unlock it the first time around.
There's no telling whether or not this job will expire after the holiday season is over, so make sure to take a stab at this job while you're guaranteed to have a good shot at it. Besides, if you start the job now, you'll have the best chance of finding other players on your friends' list that are also trying the catering job, giving you an even better chance at success, so keep that in mind.
Check out the rest of our Holiday 2010 coverage right here.
How fair do you think this Catering Mission is? Do you think Zynga should allow warn users about locked dishes before allowing them to start the job - or should these dishes be locked in the first place? Let us know in the comments.