Three sisters recently gathered their daughters at Sanderlin Green Houses in Appling to pass their father's tradition on to his granddaughters.
"We just started it years ago just with Dad," said Cecilia Pittman, of Augusta. "He just wanted to do something for us and this is what he wanted to do."
Each December, Jim Prestwood brought his four daughters - Pittman, Marjolie Knight, Jayne Crown and Janis Belcher - to the Appling nursery to buy them a poinsettia plant for the holidays. The family then went to lunch, making it a day for family fellowship.
"This is awesome,' said Pittman's daughter, Emily Maguire, while walking with her family among the greenhouses filled with yards of poinsettias.
The tradition has taken a different turn since Knight died of brain cancer on Christmas Eve 2004 and Prestwood passed away Oct. 25, 2005.
"We came out here last year by ourselves without our Dad. It was very strange. We all cried because Marjolie was missing and we missed her and we missed our Dad," Pittman said, adding with a smile, "Then we got up to the cash register and each of us looked at each other like, 'Who is going to pay for it.'"
On Dec. 2, the three sisters brought six of their daughters to Sanderlins to keep their father's tradition alive. Each of the siblings bought their daughters a poinsettia or Christmas cactus. Pittman, Crown, of Martinez, and Belcher, of Grovetown, have at least one son each, but the ladies decided to keep the tradition among daughters.
"After Daddy passed away, I started getting me a Christmas cactus instead of the poinsettia," Crown said, adding that she bought Christmas cactuses for her daughters, Ellice, Janna and Marcie Crown. "And so I felt like I needed to start something new for me ... You have to keep something going, but there has got to be a change in there. You make it your own."
Amid taking family photos among the waves of red, burgundy and pink poinsettias, the siblings bring their oldest sister's memory with them by wearing sweatshirts she designed.
The siblings said Prestwood's memory also will always be with them on their annual holiday rendezvous.
"He loved doing this," Belcher said, "(He was) a very sentimental fellow."
Now, the siblings hope their daughters enjoy the excuse to get together once a year and pass it along to their own children.
"I will have at least one daughter," Marcie Crown said before the group left for lunch in Thomson. "... And when I do, I definitely plan on passing it on."
Like the family's annual Christmas Eve chili gathering, all three sisters agree that the Sanderlin tradition gives them a great excuse to spend time together.
"It means a lot to us. We just loved it when Daddy was here because it made us four girls get together," Pittman said. "When we all go 900 miles an hour through the year, it made us get together.
"This is something that meant so much to us and we know it will mean a lot to the kids as long as we keep it going."
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