In the preface to A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens wrote that he tried to raise the Ghost of an Idea with readers and trusted that it would haunt their houses pleasantly. In December 1997, 154 Christmases later, the New York Times Magazine asked our Edward Gorey, the iconoclastic artist and author, to refurbish this enduring morality tale. What is Gorey's moral? Don't eat fruitcake? Don't look for morals? Don't mess with the classics? Whatever. You decide. But don't think too hard, and have a Merry Christmas.