Match ends, Newcastle United 4, Birmingham City 0.
Newcastle returned to the top of the Championship table as Dwight Gayle's hat-trick inspired a comfortable home win over against Birmingham City.
Striker Gayle headed in unmarked from a Mo Diame cross, and then finished a low cross for his second in the first half.
Fellow forward Yoan Gouffran thumped in Newcastle's third following a set-piece early in the second-half.
Gayle's 16th of the season from Jonjo Shelvey's pass capped victory over the Blues, who drop out of the top six.
After three games without a win, Newcastle fans might have feared an end-of-year wobble, but any such concerns evaporated as Rafael Benitez's side imposed their dominance.
Gary Rowett's side, who had climbed to fifth, failed to cope with the free-scoring hosts as their miserable run on Tyneside - four straight losses - was extended.
Shelvey and Matt Ritchie had the quality deliveries to feed the lively Gayle, and Blues goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak had plenty of work to do before his goal was eventually breached.
The visitors were lacklustre going forward as Newcastle climbed one point above Brighton, winners against Leeds on Friday.
Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez told BBC Newcastle:
"I think the first half we played really well and had a lot of chances, in the second-half we expected them to push but we created more chances and scored the goals.
"We played attacking football with some pace and good situations that we practiced, the players were enjoying it.
"We talked about the Blackburn game and not making the same mistakes in waiting 45 minutes to create some chances. We concentrated and did what we had to do."
Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett told BBC WM:
"Newcastle are probably the best team I've seen in the Championship, thinking back to some of the teams I've seen promoted from this division and they certainly give you more problems and test you in more way than they do.
"I said to players we have to be aggressive, we have to get close and really tough to play in our half and we'll defend and break - we had opportunities to do that but we didn't play enough balls or play with enough quality when we did win the ball. We were too passive at times.
"I'm very disappointed with the way we made some of the chances far too easy to create."
- 11RitchieBooked at 59mins
- 14HaydenBooked at 75minsSubstituted forLazaarat 82'minutes
- 20GouffranSubstituted forAtsuat 70'minutes
- 9GayleSubstituted forMitrovicat 79'minutes
- 7TescheBooked at 32minsSubstituted forKieftenbeldat 45'minutes
- 20StewartSubstituted forJutkiewiczat 45'minutes
- 11CotterillSubstituted forO'Keefeat 74'minutes
- Andy Davies
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Newcastle United 4, Birmingham City 0.
Offside, Newcastle United. Jonjo Shelvey tries a through ball, but Achraf Lazaar is caught offside.
Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Jamaal Lascelles.
Vurnon Anita (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Che Adams (Birmingham City).
Attempt missed. Christian Atsu (Newcastle United) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Matt Ritchie with a headed pass.
Substitution, Newcastle United. Achraf Lazaar replaces Isaac Hayden.
Attempt saved. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) header from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Josh Cogley.
Substitution, Newcastle United. Aleksandar Mitrovic replaces Dwight Gayle.
Goal! Newcastle United 4, Birmingham City 0. Dwight Gayle (Newcastle United) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Jonjo Shelvey.
Attempt missed. Corey O'Keefe (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box misses to the left.
Attempt saved. Che Adams (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Isaac Hayden (Newcastle United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Isaac Hayden (Newcastle United).
Che Adams (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Birmingham City. Corey O'Keefe replaces David Cotterill.
Foul by Isaac Hayden (Newcastle United).
Maikel Kieftenbeld (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Ciaran Clark (Newcastle United).