This year I tested them first (maybe not unusual for you, but it is for me). I got two sets going. Then the dog threw up and I had to stop and take care of that. I gave the dog hydrogen peroxide to help him throw up (he was frantically running around the yard trying to find stuff to eat that would help him vomit). After throwing up three times, he calmed down. Then I cleaned out his crate and hosed off his dog bed.
Then back to the mesh lights. On the third set I finally got everything except the middle section working. After testing every single bulb in the middle section and replacing what was found to be dead, it still wouldn't work. hmm. Last ditch effort: transfer all the bulbs to the sacrificial set. No luck. They wouldn't light at all. Not one. hmm. Transfer them all back and throw away the wiring from the sacrificial set. They still wouldn't light at all. Not a single one. Pack up the green mesh lights and put them back in the attic. Two sets are not enough for the large shrubs up front.
So I put up the garland around the front door, a wreath, and the red mesh sets on the two smaller shrubs and that's it for outdoors.
I started working on our mini Christmas tree inside. But I had left the attic ladder down. That allowed the cat to disappear into the attic. Stop work on the tree and go retrieve the cat. With my luck today I must be careful not to step off the rafters and poke a hole into the ceiling. Of course the cat doesn't come when called. But thank goodness she hadn't gotten too far. I did have to crawl under ducting, avoid wiring, and balance on rafters to go get her. First with a flash light in one hand, then with the flashlight and a cat on the way back. but it went without incident. I finally got the mini tree done. I just have the window garlands to put up now. The dog is fine, the cat is fine, no catastrophe has befallen, but my fingers are sore from tugging on the bulbs on the mesh lights and it's been a long day.