Forget all the hype about Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming just after Thanksgiving. If history is any kind of teacher, today is the real Monday that matters for online retailers.

Dec. 12 was the busiest Internet shopping day last year. It's not the actual date that matters; it's the fact that it was the second Monday of the month. Today is the day when folks get back in to work, fret that they haven't really done a lot of holiday shopping just yet, and go online to strike deals. Waiting any longer places buyers in the unsavory position of having to overpay for speedy delivery options.

This time around, Christmas falls on a Monday, too. That creates a greater urgency to have gifts delivered by Dec. 22. It's a fact that some retailers like (NASDAQ:AMZN) are relishing. On Amazon's site, the company is promoting using its Prime membership program, which charges a yearly fee to provide free delivery on most items within two business days, as it counts down toward Dec. 22.

Over at (NASDAQ:OSTK), the top right corner of the page alerts buyers that they have just seven days left to use ground shipping.

Things get a bit trickier on eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY). Because bidders are at the mercy of auctioneers -- not eBay itself -- eBay doesn't have the luxury of counting down until the final days. This morning, eBay's landing page features the top 10 items offered with "expedited shipping." These are sellers who have agreed to ship their items within a business day of receiving an electronic payment. In return, they get a "Get it Fast" icon on their listing.

So, are you feeling the urgency yet? Procrastinate a bit longer and hope isn't lost in cyberspace. Many bricks-and-mortar chains offer local store pickups. You also have pure e-tailers like Amazon that will shift to selling electronic gift certificates once their shipping deadlines have lapsed.

You still have time, though the masses have spoken. Today will probably be the busiest day of the online shopping season in 2006. Are you ready to be a part of it, or will your virtual shopping cart run empty?

Amazon and eBay have been recommended to Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter subscribers. Overstock was once a Rule Breakers selection.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been shopping online for about as long as Amazon has been in business. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. T he Fool has a disclosure policy.