A crushing sixth home defeat of the season left Christmas cheer thin on the ground at Turf Moor as the Clarets reached the half-way point of the Premier League campaign stuck in the bottom three.
Everton struck five times to equal Burnley’s heaviest home defeat of 2018 as the Merseysiders bounced back from a 6-2 beating by Tottenham to end their five-game winless run.
The Clarets had lost by just a late goal to title-chasing Spurs and given Arsenal a run for their money in the run-up to Christmas.
But after taking one step forward, this felt like two back in the first of a crucial run of games.
West Ham and Fulham are due at Turf Moor either side of a New Year trip to Huddersfield Town.
And Sean Dyche’s men know how vital it is they pick up points following a run of nine defeats in 11 games – the latest of which came after conceding three goals inside the first 22 minutes – which is rapidly reducing the margin for error.
A first goal for the club from Ben Gibson briefly gave the Clarets hope at half-time.
But Everton added two more in the second half to leave Burnley in no doubt the size of the task now facing them in the second half of the season.
As well as a first Premier League outing for summer signing Gibson, the Clarets also brought back Matt Lowton in the right wing-back role.
But the defensive changes didn’t work out and with less than a quarter of the game gone, Burnley were as good as out of the game.
Ben Mee and James Tarkowski also moved a place in the backline re-shuffle and just two minutes in no-one got close enough to re-called defender Yerry Mina, who headed Everton in front from Bernard’s cross.
Lowton then conceded a free-kick by blocking off Dominic Calvert-Lewin for France international Lucas Digne to curl in a fine effort which flew inside Joe Hart’s right-hand post to make it 2-0.
The Clarets could count themselves unlucky to concede a penalty for the third goal, Mee knocked off balance before the ball brushed his raised hand.
But again, the damage had been self-inflicted as a mistake by Tarkowski allowed Bernard a run at goal which the Clarets’ defender did well to interrupt with a superb recovery tackle at the expense of the corner Mee was attempting to defend.
Having been knocked out of any stride they may have hoped to find, the Clarets found it equally hard going trying to make an impression at the other end of the pitch, where Sam Vokes was making his 100th Premier League appearance for Burnley on his return to the starting line-up.
But 10 minutes before the break they suddenly had a possible lifeline as Gibson scored his first goal since August last year to reduce the deficit.
Ashley Barnes earned a corner with a header which Jordan Pickford pushed around a post and after Tarkowski had headed Charlie Taylor’s delivery against a post, Gibson swivelled to meet the rebound with a shot on the turn which found the bottom corner.
And three minutes into the second half the visitors’ lead should have been down to one goal.
Again, Tarkowski made his presence felt following a set-piece and this time should have scored himself as Jeff Hendrick’s deflected cross found him inside the six-yard box for a chance he steered over the top.
Despite occasionally living dangerously at the back, the Clarets were only one goal away from being back in the hunt and with half an hour to go Dyche sent on teenager Dwight McNeil and the fit-again Johann Berg Gudmundsson in a switch to 4-4-2.
But any hope they had of making a significant impact disappeared as Digne struck his second of the game with 20 minutes left.
Hart averted the immediate danger by denying former England team-mate Theo Walcott.
But the Clarets were never able to really relieve the pressure from the corner that followed and when Digne was given the ball 30 yards from goal, the former Barcelona man sent a skidding low drive past Hart’s left hand and into the bottom corner.
Burnley looked to at least finish on a high as Mee steered a shot wide and Gudmundsson clipped a free-kick onto the roof of the net
But Everton still had the final word thanks to a classy finish from substitute Richarlison, who ran onto Gylfi Sigurdsson’s through-ball to shoot past Hart with virtually the last kick of a worrying afternoon for the Clarets.
Burnley: Hart, Tarkowski, Mee, Gibson (McNeil 63); Lowton, Westwood, Cork, Hendrick (Gudmundsson 63), Taylor; Barnes, Vokes (Wood 73). Substitutes: Bardsley, Long, Vydra, Heaton.
Booked: Gibson, Lowton
Everton: Pickford; Keane, Zouma, Mina; Coleman, Sigurdsson, Gomes (Gueye 75), Digne; Walcott, Bernard (Davies 80); Calvert-Lewin (Richarlison 67). Substitutes: Baines, Jagielka, Niasse, Stekenlenburg.
Booked: Sigurdsson, Gomes, Gueye.
Referee: Michael Oliver