Elaborate Nativity Scene: El Cerrito, CA


Lest we forget, the origin of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ–not just an ode to shopping, santas, elves, reindeer, marketing, excess and lights. This was not lost on Sundar Shadi, an immigrant from India and long-time resident of El Cerrito, California who put up a life-size display in front of his hillside home for 50 years until his death in 2002 at the age of 101. Volunteers have continued the tradition and it remains a holiday pilgrimage for Bay Area residents.



I lived nearby in the late ’90s and was awestruck when I drove by one early morning on my way to work and saw the elaborate display that seemed to magically appear overnight.
To learn more about Sundar and his life and faith, go here.


2 thoughts on “Elaborate Nativity Scene: El Cerrito, CA

  1. In 1978, my three daughters and I experience the most beautiful & breathtaking Nativity Scene I have ever seen. I lived in Richmond for twenty plus years. Ever year we made it possible to view this special gift Mr. Sundar shared with the whole world. I remember tour buses on Arlington just to see the Nativity. Since I moved to the East Coast I have not seen any display of this magnitude. Tomorrow I will share with my granddaughters what their mothers experience with this amazing display. Blessings!!!


    • Thank you so much for your touching description of Sundar’s Christmas gift to the community. His efforts to create this display were truly an inspired act of love. It’s wonderful that you have enjoyed this gift and are able to share it with your daughters. His legacy lives on…Happy Holidays!


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