The story takes place in Stony Stratford in Buckinghamshire. Stony Stratford (often shortened to Stony) is a constituent town of Milton Keynes (in north Buckinghamshire). Today Stony Stratford is a busy, picturesque market town at the north-west corner of Milton Keynes. The many pubs, restaurants and specialist shops attract visitors from some distance.
The Joyces go to the switching-on of the Christmas light in their town. There is also a parade for the celebration.
The Salvation Army sings carols for the occasion. I remember when I was living in England, I saw this myself, and I think it was really nice. The Salvation Army is a Christian Protestant church and international charitable organisation structured in a quasi-military fashion. The organisation reports a worldwide membership of over 1.5 million, consisting of soldiers, officers and adherents known as Salvationists.