Villa will be relieved to see the back of the festive season after defeat by fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic left them with three defeats and fifteen goals conceded in the space of seven days.
Paul Lambert's team had been hopeful of a morale-boosting victory after the nightmares against Chelsea and Tottenham but rarely looked like repeating last season's 2-0 win - their only Premier League home success over the Latics.
Central defender Ivan Ramis headed the visitors into a third-minute lead, but the real damage was inflicted early in the second half when Emmerson Boyce and Arouna Kone scored in the space of five minutes.
That left Lambert's men with a mountain to climb and there was never much prospect of a comeback.
Villa's confidence, already fragile in the wake of conceding twelve goals in the previous two games, was dealt another blow before they had settled.
Jean Beausejour delivered a pinpoint corner from the left and as home defenders hesitated Ramos climbed to plant a firm header past Brad Guzan from close range.
Andreas Weimann produced the best of Villa's early efforts. In the fifth minute the Austrian striker moved on to Brett Holman's through ball for a low left-footer which Ali Al-Habsi held as the keeper dived to his left.
Then Weimann worked his way into a shooting position 30 yards out but although his effort carried plenty of power it lacked direction.
In between times, Wigan striker Franco Di Santo sent a long range shot too high, while former Villa midfielder Shaun Maloney suffered the same fate when he tried his luck from distance.
There was a nervous edge to Villa's play, although Christian Benteke earned warm applause when he superbly controlled Stephen Ireland's lofted pass in the 33rd minute.
The Belgium international produced some clever footwork as he tried to set himself up for a shot but ran out of space and his right-foot effort was charged down.
Three minutes later Benteke drilled a low shot past Al-Habsi, only for home cheers to be stifled by a linesman's flag which was raised for offside against Weimann.
A couple of minutes before the break, Villa were almost level when Benteke headed down Barry Bannan's deep free-kick for Holman to unleash an angled drive which thudded against the bar - and Holman then just failed to connect with another Benteke head-on.
Benteke was again prominent at the start of the second half, heading wide at the far post from Matt Lowton's right-wing cross but in the 52nd minute the Latics increased their lead, Boyce darting through the middle and exchanging passes with Kone before sending a low 18-yard shot beyond Guzan's reach and just inside the right-hand post.
And it got worse four minutes later when Kone skipped his way past a couple of challenges, took the ball around Guzan and slotted home from a narrow angle.
Villa made a triple substitution in the 64th minute, sending on Karim El Ahmadi, Marc Albrighton and Jordan Bowery, and the former Chesterfield striker only just failed to get in a near post header from Albrighton's cross.
In the closing minutes Weimann dragged a shot wide of the far post and Bowery made a promising run before his low effort was comfortably saved by Al-Habsi.
But Villa were still thankful for Guzan when the keeper kept out sub Callum McManaman's angled drive with his legs.
Villa: Guzan; Lichaj (Albrighton 64), Lowton, Herd, Clark, Bennett; Bannan, Ireland (El Ahmadi 64), Holman (Bowery 64); Benteke, Weimann. Unused subs: Given, Westwood, Stevens, Carruthers.
Wigan: Al-Habsi; Boyce, Ramis, Caldwell, Figueroa, Beausejour (Gomez 79); McCarthy, Maloney, Jones (McArthur 65); Di Santo, Kone (McManaman 87). Unused subs: Pullitt, Boseli, Stam, Golobart.