Christmas Magic at Grampians Health Ballarat
Towards the end of 2022, I received a message from Jess Herrmann, Registered Nurse at the Specialty Care Nursery with Grampians Health. She shared with me how much she adored my children’s book, Christmas in Ballarat and asked if I would consider donating some copies to the families staying in her ward over the holiday period.
It was a very easy yes. A book about Ballarat, given to its newest little residents, it sounded delightful. I also loved the idea of them taking a keepsake to read as they grew and celebrated the holidays for years to come.
In late 2023, I received another message from Jess, the staff decorates the nursery every year in a chosen theme. Jess wanted to know if I would be okay with Christmas in Ballarat being this year’s theme. Again, she was asking all the right questions, my response was a residing yes!
I sent images, references and of course a donation of books to the nursery to help them prepare for the season. They got in early, months in fact, as this was certainly a labour of love, which they were accustomed to.
Jess sent me updates and I was awe-struck with the scenes unfolding before my eyes. After ten years of Christmases in Ballarat, this would be my first living out of state. It was so special for me to have this connection, my books and the town that inspired it mean so much to me.
I also had a secret wish that my illustrations would someday end in the Myer Christmas windows but seeing the nursery transformed for the families over the holidays surpassed that dream and into a treasured memory I will always be proud of.
Once I saw the final images I understood why they won the hospital-wide decorating competition, I would have driven the 9 hours down there myself to rally support for a recount if they didn’t!
You could tell just how much love and dedication to their patients was poured into every piece of craft paper, every ounce of paint and every word written. From Marg Monagle who painted the murals of The Wendouree Pals, to Jess’s organisation it was an incredible team effort of patience, diligence and a sprinkling of Christmas magic.
My thanks goes to all the staff, nurses and hospital team for their incredible effort with this and everything they do every single day of the year. It was an honour to have my work bring even more joy to the world and it goes without saying that it made my Christmas.
You can read more about the magical Christmas in Ballarat at Grampians Health here.